Flying Legends Duxford: Thousands enjoy spectacle of nostalgia and poignant memories as past is brought to life

ACA4947 – Boeing P-26 Peashooter. ACA4947 – Boeing P-26 Peashooter.

Saturday, July 12, 2014
11:39 PM

Thousands of visitors enjoyed a nostalgic day out at the Flying Legends Air Show on Saturday.

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ACA4509 – Laurel and Hardy entertain the crowds.ACA4509 – Laurel and Hardy entertain the crowds.

They experienced a fantastic wartime atmosphere across the museum.

The Vintage Village was bedecked with traditional stripy deckchairs and decorated picnic tables, which visitors used to sit back, relax and enjoy the sounds of The Winslow Concert Band performing 1940s songs.

The Manhattan Dolls, direct from New York, performed wartime swing classics in true Andrews Sisters-style.

Visitors also met Laurel and Hardy, who played to the crowd with their slapstick comedy, aboard their model T Ford car.

ACA4269 – B-29 Superfortress pilot Paul Maupin chats to visitors about flying this iconic aircraft.ACA4269 – B-29 Superfortress pilot Paul Maupin chats to visitors about flying this iconic aircraft.

Hair and make-up stylist Alice Cormie transformed ladies into 1940s screen goddesses with her hair and make-up demonstrations.

Also in the Vintage Village, visitors were able to sit in a Spitfire and clamber aboard the Home Front Bus to see reconstructions of a 1940s living room, a wartime shop, a bombed-out street and an air raid shelter.

Members of Second World War living history groups brought RAF Duxford’s wartime past to life.

Ops 1939-45, representing Battle of Britain-era pilots and ground crew, chatted to visitors at their recreated 1940s dispersal point.

The Breitling Super Constellation [Picture: IWM]The Breitling Super Constellation [Picture: IWM]

They also hosted authentic Bomber Command briefings, which were very popular with visitors.

The 42nd Field Hospital were also in attendance, portraying US Army Medical personnel from the Second World War.

The Screaming Eagles Living History Group represented servicemen who served with the 101st US Airborne Division, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Easy Company.

Paul Maupin, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress pilot for the Commemorative Air Force, gave walk-around tours of the B-29 Superfortress in the American Air Museum and regaled visitors with tales of his experiences flying this iconic aircraft.

IMG_3729 – Dakota Norway Douglas C-53D-DO DakotaIMG_3729 – Dakota Norway Douglas C-53D-DO Dakota

Despite a grey start to the day, the clouds broke and brilliant sunshine heralded the afternoon’s flying display, which started at 2pm with 11 Spitfires taking to the skies, including four rare Mark I Spitfires.

This stunning opening to the flying display was followed by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster and Spitfire, a favourite combination at IWM Duxford air shows.

Three Piper L-4 Cubs then took to the skies, followed by the powerhouse US Navy combination of the Grumman F8F Bearcat, F6F Hellcat, FM2 Wildcat and Goodyear FG-1D Corsair.

One of the stars of the flying display was the Boeing P-26 Peashooter, which made its only 2014 appearance at the Flying Legends Air Show.

MG_3092 – living history groups brought the Second World War to life at IWM Duxford.MG_3092 – living history groups brought the Second World War to life at IWM Duxford.

Following this, The Fighter Collection’s Curtiss Hawk 75, Curtiss P-40F Warhawk and Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk performed a powerful display.

In a scene reminiscent of the latter stages of the Second World War, two Hispano Buchon (Messerschmitt Bf 109) aircraft flew in, chased by two North American P-51 Mustangs.

This was followed by the poignant sight of B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B accompanied by two North American P-51 Mustangs, recreating the bomber and fighter combinations that would have flown into bombing raids in the Second World War.

The Flying Bulls’ Lockheed P-38 Lightning gleamed in the summer sunshine as it took the skies for a spectacular display.

The Manhattan Dolls have a 1940s make over from Alice Cormie [Picture: IWM]The Manhattan Dolls have a 1940s make over from Alice Cormie [Picture: IWM]

It was followed by a display of 1930s biplanes, featuring two Gloster Gladiators and a Hawker Nimrod. Returning to the Second World War, we then saw a display by the Hawker Sea Fury. This was followed by a display of elegant aerobatics from the Bucker Jungmann.

The eagerly-awaited Breitling Super Constellation filled the skies over IWM Duxford and was followed by the stunning Dakota Norway Douglas C-53D–DO Dakota. This Dakota was delivered to the US Eighth Air Force on 8 October 1943 and participated in operations from October 1943 until 1945.

It was then time for the Flying Legends Air Show tradition of the balbo, comprising all aircraft that took part in the afternoon’s flying display, in mass formation – a sight that really has to be seen to be believed!

The flying display concluded with the ‘Joker’ display by The Fighter Collection’s Nick Grey in the Gloster Gladiator.

The Flying Legends Air Show continues on Sunday 13 July.

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