web analytics

Where are you, Winston Churchill?


Went to an airshow Saturday. There were several in the South of England this weekend. They do this so the Red Arrows (for example) can fly down the coast and do one show after another in one big go.

The picture is (part of) the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The RAF has one Lancaster bomber, one Hurricane and one Spitfire they’re keeping in the air and they fly them together to the various shows. People love them.

I hit up Wikipedia to find out when the Battle of Britain officially started and ended (answer: depends if you ask the Brits or the Krauts). I learned that it has the distinction of being (the only?) battle to be named before it was fought. Winnie named it in his “finest hour” speech:

What General Weygand has called The Battle of France is over. The battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of a perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour”.

Makes you nostalgic for a time when our leaders not only acknowledged a war for the survival of Christian civilization, but actually were on our side in it.

Anyway. Highlight of the day: watching a soldier teach a little boy to cock and fire a Glock, with his mother helping out. I could’ve wished for them all to show a little more barrel discipline, though — even if it was a dummy training weapon.

Low point: the little boy who ran up to his mother shouting, “Mummy, look! It’s one of those things cowboys wear to keep their guns in!” To his credit, he was super excited about it, but it was sad to see a ten-year-old boy who didn’t know the word holster.

Apologies to Uncle B for mangling his nice picture down to weasel blog size.


Comment from Deborah HH
Time: August 15, 2016, 8:30 pm

It’s a great picture. I can’t imagine how that Lancaster must have sounded. Is that a hammer on the tail of the Hurricane?

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: August 15, 2016, 8:49 pm

I have only seen a flying Spitfire once, at the Long’s Peak Highland Games. There was a flyover by a DeHaviland Venom and a Spitfire at the opening ceremonies. This Games was just before we went in to Iraq. The Scots Guards Pipes and Drums were the Guest of Honor band, and I spent more than a little time talking with them. I remember one piper insisting, in a barely understandable accent, very strongly that if we went in they they would be alongside us, AS ALWAYS. And that was not a complaint, that was a declaration of pride and loyalty to an ally.

In July, my son and his wife took me to the Wings of Victory fly in at Colorado Springs airport, and I spent several hours crawling through a B-17, a B-24, and a B-25. Could not afford the price of a flight on one of them. But I would love to get a close up view of those Brit planes.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 15, 2016, 10:09 pm

Funnily enough there was a B-25 at this event on Saturday, Subotai Bahadur – and I’d never set eyes on one before. Sadly, it didn’t fly. It just sat there looking very impressive.

There was also one of my favourite planes ever – the exquisite US designed Catalina flying boat.

For a creature that sleeps underground, this badger certainly loves flying machines.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: August 16, 2016, 12:00 am

Lancasters are quite noisy—that’s four 1600hp Merlin engines you’re looking at. I imagine if 600 of them were flying over you dropping 12,000lb light-case blast bombs and strings of incendiaries they’d have been even more impressive. Blowing up individual Jihadis with bombs that cost more than a Porsche 911 is all very well, but there’s something to be said for trundling wave after wave of aircraft overhead and making the rubble bounce.

Comment from The Neon Madman
Time: August 16, 2016, 1:45 am

There’s a B-17 in Oshkosh, it frequently flies over my house during the EEA convention and airshow in July. Very cool. Sounds like a whole thunder of Harley-Davidsons coming down the road. You can get a ride for something like $500. One of these days ……….

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: August 16, 2016, 1:52 am

The Lancaster went into service in February 1942, which was long after the Battle of Britain. Still, I can see why they’d keep one. I saw an AVRO Shackleton once (a postwar long-range patrol variant of the Lancaster).

Uncle Badger: “the exquisite US designed Catalina flying boat”???

Of all the adjectives ever applied to the Catalina, I never expected “exquisite”. “Peculiar”, “distinctive”, “unusual”, even “grotesque”, but not “exquisite”.

Comment from gromulin
Time: August 16, 2016, 3:32 am

Nothing like the sound of Merlins and Griffons flying fast overhead. Most of the fastest Unlimited planes at the National Championship Air Races in Reno run souped-up Merlins. The sound as they scream by at near 500MPH makes the hair on your neck stand up.

Comment from dissent555
Time: August 16, 2016, 5:10 am

The heritage flights I saw at the Oshkosh EAA air shows on Saturday and Sunday were an F-16 Viper and a P-51 Mustang. I think there was a Lancaster there in 2015, but I didn’t see one there this year. Sounds like it would have been fun to see the show you went to.

Comment from dissent555
Time: August 16, 2016, 5:15 am

” … Makes you nostalgic for a time when our leaders not only acknowledged a war for the survival of Christian civilization, but actually were on our side in it. …”

AMEN! I’ll be amazed if any speech by our current crop of utter nitwits is remembered by anyone 40-50 years from now.

Sadly, I probably won’t be here to make note of it. Maybe if cryogenics gets WAY better.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: August 16, 2016, 5:30 am

Uncle B:

I’d love to see a Catalina. And for that matter, the Short Sunderland. Monstrous huge thing that it was. I and my scale model making friends used to joke to the effect of ‘if that was a Short Sunderland, what would a Big one look like?’

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: August 16, 2016, 7:55 am

Cousin Badger, my uncle, Darrell the Badger, flew F6Fs during The War. Badgers belong in the air, in Grumman Products.

Comment from F X Muldoon
Time: August 16, 2016, 11:47 am

Is that a hammer on the tail of the Hurricane?

No, country and squadron markings. Color (or colour in the UK and Canada) picture here.

It is interesting that they repainted the plane with South East Asia Command colors of a Canadian pilot.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: August 16, 2016, 3:21 pm

Thank you F X Muldoon. I’ve been a fan of the airplane ever since I read Paul Gallico’s (1959) book about the Hawker Hurricane when I was 13 or 14. If I were rich, it’s one of the airplanes I would buy.
For B-25 fans, here’s a treat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=At88Fcdgv0g

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 16, 2016, 6:06 pm

Oh, those pre-CGI days! Great link, Deborah HH!

And, Rich Rostrum, beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.:

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 16, 2016, 8:53 pm

In case anyone is wondering, that “321k” at the end of my comment to Rich Rostrum was added by Mad Jack, who strolled onto my keyboard, gave me a look, typed it and wandered off.

I think we might finally be in with a chance here as it’s clearly an encrypted message. If any fellow minion finds their feline master or mistress behaving oddly (that is, any more oddly than usual) please take notes so that we can, at last, begin to crack the code.

Comment from F X Muldoon
Time: August 17, 2016, 11:49 am

Deborah – speaking of B-25s, though the quality isn’t the best, a video of the USS Carl Vinson off Oahu in 1995 launching B-25s off the deck in an end of WWI commemoration – they make it look easy, of course the Vinson is 300 feet longer than the Hornet the Doolittle Raiders took off from.

Another of the same thing showing them launching other period aircraft to include a Wildcat, SNJ, Corsair, Avenger, a couple of amphibs.


Neat flyby at the end with 2 F-18s and a Corsair.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny