Foreword: Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha DSO MA BSc RAF
For the first time, the biggest Hurricane restoration project is revealed in a book with more than 175 previously unseen photos.
The Hurricane PZ865 is part of the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and will be taking to the skies over Britain this summer for a host of air shows.
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in Camera documents the first time a Hurricane has been dismantled and rebuilt on such a huge scale and brings to life the work of just 30 backroom staff who keep the Flight’s rare and iconic aircraft in the sky.
Author and photographer Keith Wilson has been granted unlimited access to the Flight, including air-to-air photographic sorties of the Lancaster, Spitfire ,Hurricane and Chipmunks as well as the recently rebuilt Spitfire LF.XVIe TE311 that flew for the first time in October last year.
The Flight – which operates six Spitfires, two Hurricanes, a Lancaster, Dakota and two Chipmunks – exists primarily to pay tribute to the generation who fought in the air during the Second World War.
The ‘private face’ of the Flight is also revealed as Keith Wilson meticulously documents the work of the engineers and mechanics who carry out the extensive winter maintenance regime the aircraft must undergo before they can fly again the following season.
These major overhauls are rarely accessible during public visits to the hangars.
Keith Wilson said: “The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is not just another display team; it is a living reminder of the debt of gratitude we all owe to those who gave their lives during the Second World War, in both the Battle of Britain as well as with Bomber Command.
“So much work goes into keeping these iconic aircraft in the air and I wanted to share that with the public, so that when they watch them at an air show this summer they can enjoy and appreciate them even more.”
The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was formed in 1957 and serves as a permanent reminder of the 544 aircrew killed during the Battle of Britain in the summer and autumn of 1940 and the 55,573 people killed during Bomber Command operations.
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in Camera has been published with the full cooperation of the Royal Air Force and the RAF BBMF.
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in Camera by Keith Wilson (Haynes Publishing) is published 4 July and available at www.haynes.co.uk
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