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Swordfish viewed from Lynx cockpit
London FAA Flypast
London FAA Flypast
London FAA Flypast
Swordfish 1st flight of 2013 on 7 May
Swordfish 1st flight of 2013 on 7 May
Practising the 'Atlantic' formation with a Chipmonk standing in for the Swordfish

BOA 70 flypast over London

Published: 10 May 2013

As part of the Royal Navy's Battle of the Atlantic 70th anniversary commemoration, BBC One's topical magazine programme, The One Show, was broadcast live from HMS Illustrious moored on the Thames in Greenwich and featured interviews and a spectacular fly past over Central London and over the Carrier HMS Illustrious, moored at Greenwich. A legendary World War 2 Swordfish bi-plane from the Royal Navy Historic Flight, lead  a formation of four helicopters, two representing each Royal Naval Air Station. A Junglie Sea King and Maritime Lynx from RNAS Yeovilton and from RNAS Culdrose a Merlin anti-submarine hunter from 814 (The Flying Tigers) Naval Air Squadron and a Search and Rescue Sea King from 771 NAS.

Lieutenant Will Legge of 814 NAS was part of the Culdrose Merlin crew. Flying in the formation with other FAA aircraft was memorable enough, especially as the open cockpit Swordfish represented the aircraft many Royal Navy aircrew flew so heroically during the War. ‘It was a privilege to be part of the Battle of the Atlantic 70th Anniversary flypast on such a grand occasion. It recognises the sacrifices and courage made by men of the Fleet Air Arm, that all those years ago ensured freedom for our Nation.’

After the Fly past the 814 NAS Merlin landed on HMS Illustrious to the obvious joy of the gathered guests for the Battle of Atlantic 70th Anniversary dinner and the traditional Naval Sunset ceremony on the flight deck with the Royal Marines Band.

Among Veterans watching was Swordfish Telegraphist Air Gunner Ron Underwood, who flew in Swordfish with 836 Naval Air Squadron. “It was very emotional seeing the Swordfish flying over a carrier again” said Ron. “The combination of a carrier, a flypast and ceremonial sunset by the Band of HM Royal Marines was wonderful – a really memorable evening.” 

Image taken from Lynx, Matt Tazewell
Images over London courtesy Lee Howard photography
Images of practice and Swordfish 1st Flight of 2013, Lewis Gaylard.

Link to Photo album on Facebook page of Phil Whalley showing Flypast on 9 May. 20 pictures.


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