Spitfire to mark Dereham Battle of Britain parade
Chris HillDereham's Battle of Britain parade will be honoured with an evocative appearance from the iconic fighter plane which symbolised the nation's defiance 70 years ago.Chris Hill
Dereham's Battle of Britain parade will be honoured with an evocative appearance from the iconic fighter plane which symbolised the nation's defiance 70 years ago.
A Supermarine Spitfire, from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, will perform a low-level flypast over the town's Market Place on September 19.
Civic leaders and RAF veterans said they were thrilled that the town had been able to secure the services of the esteemed aircraft during a significant anniversary year.
The parade away from the annual church service will be timed to coincide with the Spitfire's scheduled appearance over the Market Place at 12.05pm.
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Town mayor Robert Hambidge said: 'Anyone who can remember the Battle of Britain may not be able to remember it for much longer, so I felt we should do something special for the 70th anniversary.'
'I applied online to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and they wrote back in spring to say we could have a Lancaster bomber.
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'Now they've confirmed that, although we cannot have the Lancaster, we can have a Spitfire instead, which is absolutely brilliant.
'I am chuffed to bits. It is a great tribute to those that can remember, and there are an awful lots of people who were boys and girls at the time who can still recall seeing this aircraft. The sound of the Spitfire's Merlin engine is such an iconic noise and I hope the pilot is able to do a couple of passes.'
Dave George, a member of the Dereham and Swaffham branch of the RAF Association, said: 'The Hurricane was easier to manufacture, there were more of them, and they shot down more enemy planes. But the Spitfire has always had that romance. From the pilot's point of view, they would have loved flying it. If you were 17 or 18, which many of them were, it would have been like getting into an Aston Martin and racing around. It was the sports car of the air.'
Mr George said: 'Everybody is going to be very proud to see it, and it is something which will enhance the day greatly,' he said. 'There is so much demand during this season of air shows and memorial events, so for a town like Dereham to have got a Spitfire really is a coup.'
?Dereham's Battle of Britain parade on September 19 will leave the Cherry Tree Car Park at about 10.45am and arrive at the parish church of St Nicholas for a service at 11am. The parade will return through the Market Place at about midday, where a salute will be taken at the War Memorial.