Naval flypast tops Fleet Air Arm’s 100th birthday

THE Navy was in town today—or rather, flying above it—to celebrate 100 years of the Fleet Air service. A formation of 40 helicopters flew high above the Thames, passing the old Greenwich Royal Naval college and London’s iconic Tower Bridge

By Julia Gregory

THE Navy was in town today—or rather, flying above it—to celebrate 100 years of the Fleet Air service.

A formation of 40 fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft flew high above the Thames, passing the old Greenwich Royal Naval college and London’s iconic Tower Bridge.

They were led by modern, state-of-the-art Merlin helicopters followed by Sea King and Lynx helicopters, as well as Hawk and Jetstream aircraft.

The huge aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious slipped carefully through the Thames Barrier yesterday to berth alongside the Naval college ready for the flypast—it was the furthest upriver she could get before she would start scraping her bottom!


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Prince Andrew, who served as a naval pilot during the Falklands War, was guest of honour on board as the deafening flypast soared overhead at mid-day.

WAR VETERANS

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He met veterans including Lieut Commander Edgar Lee, one of the few remaining survivors of the daring wartime Channel dash’ in 1942, Swordfish pilot John Moffat who crippled the German battleship Bismarck with a single torpedo in 1941, former Fleet Air Arm pilot Sir George Martin and heroes from Naval air operations in the Falklands and Afghanistan.

Spectators packed the Greenwich waterfront, by the Cutty Sark, and Island Gardens on the Isle of Dogs on the opposite side of the river to get a good view of the flypast.

The celebrations continue with a Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral tomorrow (Friday) and a display of Naval aircraft over the weekend in the grounds of the Royal Naval College, as well as flying displays over the Thames at Greenwich at 2pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

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