Monday, 4 August 2008

Happy Birthday to the Spitfire

It's of pensionable age, but will never need a bus pass to travel in style! The Spitfire is still one of the world's most iconic planes, a remarkable achievement for a plane that has just turned seventy years old. The BBC has a tribute to the plane's enduring legend online at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7540305.stm .

Of course, the plane was nothing without the pilots who flew them in the Second World War. I had the pleasure of meeting several of the Few, the pilots of the Battle of Britain, some eight years ago whilst working on a Channel Four documentary. Pictured below is former Sergeant Pilot Iain Hutchison, a Glasgow born spitfire pilot in the Battle of Britain, who took part in the documentary. I met Iain on three occasions, and on the third I had taken him along to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford to reminisce as a Spitfire there was flown for our filming purposes. Seeing the delight in Iain's eyes as the plane did several circuits around us overhead, I had a quick word with the pilot after he had landed, and then asked Iain if he fancied sitting in the cockpit again? I had barely got the words out of my mouth before Iain was up on the wing and climbing in! It was the first time he had been in the cockpit of the plane since World War Two, and if he had had his way, he'd have been off in it!

Sadly, Iain passed away last year, as have many others of his former collagues. So whilst we can commemorate the beauty and legend of the Spitfire, hopefully we can also remember the true heroes of the war, which weren't the planes, but those who risked, and in many cases lost their lives going up in them day after day.



Chris

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