– Lancaster bomber to make Isle of Wight Armed Forces Day flypast

Isle of Wight Armed Forces Day will be graced by one of the only airworthy Lancaster bombers on Sunday 25 June.

Following this week’s 80-year anniversary of the famous Dambusters Raid, it’s been confirmed the Lancaster bomber will be performing a flypast in Ryde.

Armed Forces Day committee chair and Isle of Wight Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Ian Dore, said: “This has taken six months of patience, sleepless nights and being very nice on the phone, but the hard work has paid off and we are there.

“My pen was quivering this week as I signed off the agreement for the flypast. It was squared away a few hours before the crews would be kitting up for the famous Dambusters raid, 80 years ago. 

“You can’t help but get goose bumps. The history, the heritage, the heroism; what a feeling. In a week that has seen the anniversary of that raid, to have the paperwork dripping in ink is something of a major coup for the Island.”

Eighty years ago, on the night of 16 and 17 May 1943, Wing Commander Guy Gibson led 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force on an audacious bombing raid, into the industrial heartland of Germany.

Operation Chastise saw 19 Lancasters, crewed by 133 airmen, attack three dams in the Ruhr Valley and history was made. Lancaster PA474 is one of only two Lancasters that are still airworthy in the world (7,377 were built).

It is flown and maintained by the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Councillor Dore added: “The ‘Lanc’ is an aircraft the evokes such emotion and admiration, linking us back to past aviation and reminding us of its pivotal role in World War 2.

“I would humbly suggest that its appearance at Armed Forces Day is made even more poignant, given that there are now no remaining members of 617 squadron alive.

“As it cruises aloft the glorious seafront in Ryde, respect will be paid to those that made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as to those that are serving now.

“From my recollection, the last time the Lancaster officially displayed here, was in 2013 over Cowes, so it’s going to be something for the memory books.”

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight plane, PA474 will be seen off Ryde Seafront as part of the Armed Forces Day event on Sunday, 25 June. Follow the updates at www.isleofwightarmedforcesday.co.uk

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