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BBMF Spitfire visit Laarbruch 1979/80

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BBMF Spitfire visit Laarbruch 1979/80

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Old 3rd Jul 2013, 15:46
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BBMF Spitfire visit Laarbruch 1979/80

Does any else recall a visit by the BBMF Spitfire to Laarbruch probably late 1979 or 1980? Not certain what the purpose of the visit was but certain my memory isn't playing tricks with me.
any info greatly appreciated.
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Old 3rd Jul 2013, 15:55
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I remember I-Spit visiting 17 Sqn Jags at Bruggen a little later as it was an ex 17 aircraft, but i think that was a little later, i definitely remember seeing the Lanc overfly Bruggen heading that way but again a bit later, I remember because i commented to a friend that it would have a few Germans diving into the cellars...
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Old 3rd Jul 2013, 16:19
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I remember I-Spit visiting 17 Sqn Jags at Bruggen a little later as it was an ex 17 aircraft, but i think that was a little later
It was later, it was the summer of 1983. I was holding on 17(F) at the time and have photo's of me sitting in it - a MkVIII Spit.

At the time it was owned Franco Actis (ex- Ormond Haydon-Baillie) and was flown by Paul Day.
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Old 3rd Jul 2013, 19:08
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I recall a Spitfire doing a few loops and buzzing the RAF(H) Wegberg about that time I recall being in the Staff Car Park at about 1700. My boss at the time the chief Gas Passer told me that he had arranged it. They were all outside the OM Wiestiener (sp)
in hand!
CS
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Old 3rd Jul 2013, 19:37
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I was staff on 228 OCU when a certain Major Day asked me how high I thought one could fly safely (and legally) without oxygen. I gave him the standard AMTC answer and then asked why the question. He told me that he had been asked to fly an Italian owned Spitfire from Italy, over the Alps to a 17 Sqn open day in RAFG.
We discussed various routes but due to fuel/time a straight line was preferable.
So, an RAF officer was to fly a civilian Italian owned Spitfire from Italy, over Switzerland to and RAF base within the FRG, and spending some time above 10k ft without oxygen.
In 1980 the lack of oxygen was the least worry. The possible upset from diplomatic areas was of greater concern.
The Major has a number of stories concerning the flying of that particular Spit but I will let him tell them if he so wishes.
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Old 3rd Jul 2013, 21:01
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When I lived in Little Snoring in the mid 80s our "day" was often brightened by the low level passing of a Spitfire, flown by "The Major"
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Old 3rd Jul 2013, 21:30
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At Bruggen in 79/80 I remember Terry Newman night stopping in a Spit (P7?) before heading off on a Saturday morning for a display at Auf dem Dumpel (or something like that). Perhaps he routed back to the UK through Laarbruch?

Somewhere I have a photo and a date.
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 10:12
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Spitfire at Laarbruch 1982

P7350/SH-D Spitfire IIA BoBMF,RAF

Scramble

Scramble says it was on 25 Aug 1982, but they are wrong.
It was on 25 Sept 1982 celebrating the 70th anniversary of No 2 Squadron.

Laarbruch Timeline

Last edited by 95i; 9th Jul 2013 at 10:13.
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 10:15
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I remember too the BBMF Lanc visiting Laarbruch about 1982.
I think it was for the naming of a XV Sqn Bucc as 'MacRobertson's Reply'.
XV kept this tradition on Tornados also at Lossie, I believe.
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 10:35
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BBMF

On 25 Sept 82 there were three aircraft belonging to the memorial flight:
PZ865 Hurricane II BoBMF,RAF
PA474/AJ-G Lancaster I BoBMF,RAF
P7350/SH-D Spitfire IIA BoBMF,RAF

and two further vintage a/c
XH304 Vampire T11 Vintage Pair,RAF
WF791 Meteor T7 Vintage Pair,RAF
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 10:48
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MAcRobert's Reply

Although XV Sqn was at Laarbruch the event you're writing of, happened at RAF Mildenhall.
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 10:54
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Newspaper article September 82

Sorry about the quality.
Just to give an impression:
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 11:38
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95i: Although XV Sqn was at Laarbruch the event you're writing of, happened at RAF Mildenhall.

Not exactly true 95i. Checked my logbook. We took Buccs and a Hunter (the other Bucc was XW533) from Laarbruch to Mildenhall on 23 Apr 82, and back on 26 Apr 82.

We did have a ceremony there at Mildenhall and a church service with WWII vets from XV and 622 Sqns (622 had been formed from 'C' Flt of XV). Your pic shows S/L Peter Boggis unveiling the MacRobertson's crest, and the chap in the uniform was OC XV in 1982, W/C Eddie Cox.

However - to return to the continuity of this thread - we had previously had a ceremony at Laarbruch, with the BBMF Lanc. So I guess that was early 1982, or possibly late 1981.
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 12:48
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Very interesting information

Thanks for looking up your logbook.
And for the details about "my" picture.

It helps to complete my Timeline.

Do you know when exactly the previous visit of the Lancaster took place?
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 15:43
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BBMF Lanc to Laarbruch and Wildenrath Sep 1982

From a Logbook check. The BBMF Lanc flew direct from Coningsby to Laaarbruch on 24Sep82 for an 11(F) Sqn event. The aircraft flew, displayed, at Laarbruch and Wildenrath on 25Sep prior to returning from Laarbruch to Coningsby via Manston on 26Sep82.

That was the final series of flights for the Lanc that year. Out of interest the Flight Engineer was MEng Derek Butcher who had joined the RAF in 1942 and been shot down in a Lanc over Abeville in August 1944. He was taken prisoner and escaped twice, the second time living with a family in Brussels until the city was liberated by Canadian and British Forces. I believe this was his first revisit to Germany in a Lanc since the war so there was time to look out of the windows and enjoy the scenery and reminisce.

A story from the Laarbruch transit - The Lanc was normally pretty pristine and seldom leaked oil. Somewhere en route the No 3 engine developed a small oil leak and I pointed this out to Derek. He took one quick look and said something quietly along the lines of. 'OK, I see it and will tell you before you need to worry!!' Nicely put - and me well in my place but even more respectful when I considered his background. I think this may have been Derek's last outing with the Flight.

The co-pilot was Bill Houldsworth; he joined the RAF in 1943 as a WOpAG flying Ansons, Whitleys, Wellingtons, Stirlings, Halifaxes and Lancasters before reroling to pilot in 1951. He subsequently flew Lancasters, Neptunes, Hastings and Shackletons (MR and AEW).

Bill flew on Operation Manna, dropping food supplies to the Dutch in May 1945; his final flight in the RAF was on the 1985 (40th) anniversary of Operation Manna when the Flight dropped leaflets and poppies - and also a tin of Liquorice Allsorts on a small parachute as had been done on several occasions in 1945. Bill organised the sweetie aspect and the Bassets Liquorice All Sorts were duly dropped over the airfield at Gilze Rijen by Bill, from the rear turret, and later presented to a local orphanage - typical Bill.

Bill was something of a legend in the Maritime world before coming to help out at Coningsby where he was an Ops Officer full time and part time Lancaster pilot from whom I learned a great deal. I was starting with zero hours in the left seat and about 25 hours total on the Lanc. It was a comfort for confidence to have colleagues such as Bill and Derek; in the early months it was Bill that did the stronger crosswind landings and the approaches into the shorter airfields

Hope that puts a bit more flesh on the outing. Respects to two grand men and aviators who are with us no more.
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 16:49
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Great story

Very interesting.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 17:40
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BBMF Lanc was at XV Sqn Laarbruch May 81 when the sqn got a new Standard.
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 19:59
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New standard

8 May 1981

No XV was awarded their new Squadron Standard by Sqn Ldr Peter Boggis DFC, Sterling pilot of XV Squadron in 1941 and 42.

Did the Lancaster stay overnight?
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Old 9th Jul 2013, 20:23
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Aha, that must be my memory of the Lanc at Laarbruch with XV

But sorry, I cannot remember if it overnighted.

PS In May 81, W/C Trevor Nattrass was OC XV.

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Old 10th Jul 2013, 11:33
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Bill Houldsworth

The co-pilot was Bill Houldsworth; he joined the RAF in 1943 as a WOpAG flying Ansons, Whitleys, Wellingtons, Stirlings, Halifaxes and Lancasters before reroling to pilot in 1951. He subsequently flew Lancasters, Neptunes, Hastings and Shackletons (MR and AEW).


As an aircraft mad 8 year old in 1980 collecting autographs at airshows, I met Bill Houldsworth at St Mawgan IAD, where he was flying PA474. I remember my Dad telling me that he had been wartime aircrew on Lancs. Still have his autograph at home along with someone called Mike something - I think he was the Flt Eng at the time.

I know it is over 30 years ago now, but hard to believe that wartime aircrew were still actively serving & flying in the RAF at that time!
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