IWM Duxford’s VE Day Anniversary Air Show takes to the skies this weekend
- Credit: Archant
The IWM Duxford’s VE Day Anniversary Air Show takes place this May Spring Bank Holiday weekend.
Taking place on Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24, the air show will commemorate victory in Europe and show how the war was won in the air.
The Cambridgeshire museum’s VE Day Anniversary Air Show pays tribute to the men, women and children who endured six years of conflict on the fighting fronts and the Home Front during World War Two.
Duxford’s flying display shows how the Second World War was won in the air.
Accompanied by music, speeches and audio recordings of veterans’ memories, flying aircraft show Britain preparing for war, the vital victory in the Battle of Britain, the bombing campaign, flying with the armies and navies and why Victory in Europe didn’t end the Second World War.
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In a stunning spectacle, B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B will commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day and, incredibly, the aircraft’s own 70th birthday and its 40th anniversary on the air show circuit with a poignant VE Day flying salute.
IWM Duxford’s VE Day Anniversary Air Show will be the only opportunity to see the VE Day salute led by B-17 Sally B and the first time in 21 years that Sally B has led a mass formation of aircraft.
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B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B will be accompanied by World War Two bomber and fighter aircraft in this special flying display.
Among the planes will be a Beechcraft Beech 18 (operated by Phil and Allie Dinnington), Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina (operated by Plane Sailing), North American P-51D Mustang (operated by the Old Flying Machine Company), North American TF-51D Mustang (operated by The Fighter Collection), North American P-51D Mustang (operated by the Norwegian Spitfire Foundation), and Curtiss P-40F Warhawk (operated by The Fighter Collection) .
Further highlights include the first air show display by the Aircraft Restoration Company’s Bristol Blenheim, following a lengthy 12-year restoration.
The Blenheim will be accompanied by Supermarine Spitfire Mark I P9374, which was shot down over France exactly 75 years ago on Sunday, May 24, and Supermarine Spitfire Mark I N3200, which was shot down over France 75 years ago on Tuesday, May 26.
This poignant display will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Also flying for the first time after an extensive period of restoration is the Historic Aircraft Collection’s Hawker Fury Mark I, a superb 1930s biplane.
A spokewoman for Duxford added: “We’ll be commemorating the end of the conflict in Europe and the peace that followed with a spirited display of contemporary aircraft, including the Eurofighter Typhoon from 29 (R) Squadron, RAF Coningsby, the Westland Sea King Search and Rescue Demonstration by B Flight, 22 Squadron, RAF, Wattisham, and energetic aerobatics from the RV-8tors and The Red Bull Matadors.”
Visitors can immerse themsevles in a 1940s atmosphere as organisers recreate a VE Day street party in the historic heart of IWM Duxford, complete with bunting.
Sing along to the wartime music and song performed on a Second World War stage.
Performers include the gentleman of song Pete Wayre, vintage vocalist Nina Rae, the Red Hot Ukulele Duo and an uncanny performance by ‘George Formby’.
Between live performances, visitors will hear the wartime wireless sounds of the 1940s Radio Station.
Living history groups will also give a glimpse into life on the Home Front, including wartime weddings, the Home Guard, wartime food and rationing, the Womens’ Auxiliary Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces.
From 10am to 2pm, Duxford’s learning team will be showing the tools of victory used by the Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.
They will show the equipment carried by a British soldier during the Second World War and you will be able to feel the weight of the equipment and try on Army helmets and webbing.
Moving on to the Royal Navy, you’ll learn how to tie knots and send Morse code. Visitors will also be able to see Second World War naval uniforms.
Duxford will have also mini-RAF uniforms for children to try on and a display of original Second World War flying clothing, including goggles and life jackets.
Tickets for the VE Day Anniversary Air Show can be purchased at the entrance to IWM Duxford on Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24.
As a mark of gratitude, Duxford is offering Second World War Armed Forces and Home Front Civilian Forces veterans complimentary entry to the VE Day Anniversary Air Show.
Advance booking is not required for veterans attending the VE Day Anniversary Air Show; simply arrive on the day.
IWM Duxford will be open from 8am to 6pm.
The flying display will start at 2pm and finish at approximately 5.30pm, leaving plenty of time in the morning to explore the whole of the museum.
* To find out more, visit www.iwm.org.uk/duxford