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Last flight of the Vulcan


Well, not the last flight — there are several more on the calendar for 2015 — but this is the last in our range for the last operational year of the last airworthy Vulcan.

Or B.2 XH558, “The Spirit of Great Britain”, to give her proper name.

You want to talk airplane porn? Check out the picture (one of Uncle B’s). This was when she swooped overhead, turned her belly toward us and slowly opened the bomb bay. Hussy.

And we had a brief display of Red Arrows (there was a longer display on Sunday, but we couldn’t do both days) and a tribute to the Battle of Britain and acres of booths. Soldier of Fortune was there, and lots of people with the terribly mutilated antique guns that are legal for sale here.

The shop that impressed me most was full of rusty bits of junk from the Somme. Although they also had a whole bunch of rusty German helmets that had been found in a Danish lake in 2015, no explanation given.

The one that impressed me next most was the nice German couple selling real Nazi memorabilia. It’s illegal to sell that stuff in Germany, but I guess love finds a way.

I didn’t buy nothing. Not even a Nazi table setting.


Comment from Bikeboy
Time: August 18, 2015, 10:25 pm

The Vulcan and the F-104 Starfighter are the two best-lookin’ planes ever built, in this observer’s opinion. With an “honorable mention” of the SR-71 Blackbird.

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: August 18, 2015, 11:06 pm

I’m surprised they’re allowed to gather that stuff up and sell it. You aren’t allowed to take stuff that is of archaeological significance (> 60 yrs) from public lands, out here in the west. Or is all this stuff from private lands?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 18, 2015, 11:17 pm

I’m not sure there are such restrictions here. There are rules about where you can use a metal detector and rules about what to do if you find gold or silver, but there are places where the plough turns up rusty old bits of history year after year and I think you can do what you like with them.

Comment from tonycc
Time: August 19, 2015, 3:05 am

The Somme.

Whenever I hear that name I weep for the shear waste of life, not only on the just first day in that battle (60,000 brit casualties), but for all of the wasted life in all of the other battles, big and small, in The War to End All Wars.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: August 19, 2015, 3:44 am

I don’t think there are any restrictions on WW I debris. There are kilotonnes of it lying around, nearly all of it on private land, where the battles were fought.

Every year brings up a crop of unexploded artillery shells, which French farmers call the “iron harvest”.

Comment from mojo
Time: August 19, 2015, 6:03 am

Ah, The Bat.

They used to turn up at SAC bases on the East Coast, doing trans-Atlantic runs. Noisy bastards, ain’t they?

Comment from mojo
Time: August 19, 2015, 6:07 am

PS: Aww, you shoulda got an SS Sturmbahnfeurer uniform to goose-step around the yard in. Probably impress the chooks.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: August 19, 2015, 9:15 am

France loses around three farmers a year to plows hitting remnants of the Wars, and exploding.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 19, 2015, 11:35 am

Ah, tonycc, one of the things Uncle B and I share is an absolute horror of WWI.

The American Civil War was plenty nasty, and probably the first of the modern wars (I won’t tangle with a military historian about that, but that’s what I reckon). The Second World War was huge and horrible and deliberately courted “collateral damage” on an unimaginable scale.

But there’s something about the Great War that gives me the willies like no other.

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: August 19, 2015, 5:31 pm

Anyone else read “Guns of August” by Barbara Tuchman? It describes a WWI as a massive clusterfuck of hubris, knuckleheaded strategy on the part of the English and French HMFIC, and a willful ignorance in thinking that human bodies could withstand the massive guns that the Germans had developed.
I developed a greater appreciated for the people of Belgium after reading that book.

Visiting (and paying my respects)the battle fields of WWI and WWII is on my bucket list.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: August 19, 2015, 10:40 pm

For a countervailing view, read Hew Strachan. WWI wasn’t as simple as “lions led by donkeys”.

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: August 19, 2015, 11:08 pm

I’ll look for that. I’ve read a couple of articles that also counter Tuchman’s view, but I always appreciate a book!

Comment from Doubting Rich
Time: August 20, 2015, 8:03 am

I have had a personal (OK, for my whole family) fly past from a Vulcan. We visited the last squadron just before it disbanded, and a pilot who had flown them with my Father was doing circuits. A message was passed via ATC that my Dad was there, and he beat up the airfield just for us.

I got to look around inside one too, and fly the simulator which had a whole room of computer banks to run it, with the power of a BBC Micro computer (the desktop computer ubiquitous in UK schools in the early 1980s, same era as an 80286-powered PC). For a 10-year-old this was incredible!

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