Cadets take the load to raise money for historic flight
TODAY a team of Officer Cadets from Britannia Royal Naval College will mark the anniversary of the Fleet Air Arm’s greatest success by carrying a half-size replica of a World War Two biplane.
The group of eight budding aircrew carried the 200 kilogram model of the Swordfish plane for approximately two miles (four people at a time), while dressed in 1940s aircrew uniform. The challenge took place at the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton and raised money for the Royal Naval Historic Flight (RNHF)
It is timed to coincide with the commemorations for the Battle of Taranto, which took place overnight on 11 November 1940. In two waves, 21 Royal Navy Fairey Swordfish airplanes, launched from HMS Illustrious in the Mediterranean, attacked the Italian Fleet in Taranto harbour. The operation effectively halved the Italian Fleet and gave the Royal Navy a tremendous advantage in the Mediterranean.
Officer Cadet (OC) Myan Goddard came up with the idea for the challenge and enlisted the support of OCs Christian Sugden, William Arnold, Guy Warry, Mathew Walker, William Price, Emma Turner and Jordan Gallagher.
OC Sugden said: “It will take a high level of fitness to carry the replica between four of us such a distance, and teamwork will play an important role. Hopefully it will be a good way to commemorate the Battle of Taranto while also raising money for an excellent charity that aims to keep some of the Fleet Air Arms’ history flying.”
The Fairey Swordfish is one of the most successful aircraft in the history of naval air warfare. Between 1939 and 1945, the Swordfish saw active service worldwide, pursuing the enemy afloat and ashore in every theatre of the war, between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, the Equator and the Arctic Circle. Two aircraft remain operated by the RNHF at RNAS Yeovilton including the only flying Mk1 in the world.