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Raydon Wings Airshow, 4 September

Fine mixture of oldiesMike Kerr reports that 55 years ago East Anglia was dotted with active airfields engaged in the fight for the freedom of Europe. One of these airfields, Raydon in Suffolk, returned to life on 4 September in a nostalgic flashback to another era.

Through clear blue skies the rich tones of Roll Royce Merlin engines echoed around the former airfield. Many of the taxiways and part of the main runway are still intact with some original hangers creating an appropriate backdrop to the flying displays.

The Blenheim, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first bombing raid of the Second World War, flew in from Wattisham Airfield, much to the delight of the spectators. Spitfires, Mustangs, a Harvard, Thunderbolt and Airacobra all displayed using Raydon's grass airstrip, further adding to the atmosphere. A B25 Mitchell put on a storming display, and during its last pass most of the other participating aircraft took to the air to join up for the finale flypast. With this, the Hurricane pulled up from the formation in honour of the missing man.

Raydon's runways have largely disappeared, so a grass strip has been establishedThe organisers managed to put on a memorable display and no doubt there where many thoughts and memories as the crowd dispersed. Definitely well worth a visit next year!

Postscript: It is with great sadness that we report the death of Mark Hanna, one of the leading lights of the creation of the Raydon Wings Airshow, after a crash in Spain whilst practising for an airshow at Barcelona. Without Mark's enthusiasm for the project in '97, it is doubtful that the event would ever have succeeded. The airshow scene has lost one of its leading characters, and will be much the poorer without him. A tribute can be seen at http://www.evoke.co.uk/ofmc


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