The RAF have unveiled a state-of-the art Typhoon fighter to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and to acknowledge the bravery and sacrifice of those often referred to as ‘The Few’ - the aircrew who took part in the battle.
Not only is the Typhoon painted in the flight’s colours, but also features the 249 Squadron identification number of the only Fighter Command pilot awarded a Victoria Cross during the battle, Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson VC DFC.
His relative Jim Nicolson was at the jet’s unveiling today (Thursday) at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
It will be flown by Flight Lieutenant Ben Westoby-Brooks from 29(R) Squadron.
He said: “It is a great privilege to fly this extraordinary aircraft in recognition of the sacrifices made by our predecessors 75 years ago. Their task of securing the skies was critical in the summer of 1940 and it’s an honour to pay tribute to those few brave airmen who gave their all when the stakes were so high.”
The Battle of Britain ranks alongside the battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo as one of the most significant in British history. It was the first strategic defeat suffered by the Nazi Third Reich during the Second World War. The victory by the RAF enabled the Western Allies to later launch the liberation of Western Europe and compel the Nazis to fight on two fronts leading to their consequent defeat.
It is a great privilege to fly this extraordinary aircraft in recognition of the sacrifices made by our predecessors 75 years agoFlight Lieutenant Ben Westoby-Brooks
The success of the RAF was due not just to the exceptional bravery and skill of the aircrews of Fighter Command but also those of Bomber and Coastal Commands and the many women of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force who worked tirelessly to repulse the threat of invasion – the many who supported the few.
The Typhoon along with a Second World War Spitfire, as part of a Synchro-pair, will perform aerial displays at air shows across the UK this summer.
RAF Coningsby Station Commander Group Captain Jez Attridge said: “This fully operational Typhoon will be a dynamic reminder to all that see it over the summer of the link between the modern Royal Air Force and The Few that defended our nation 75 years ago during the battle. Today that mission endures with Typhoons on Quick Reaction Alert, every minute of every day.”
The RAF’s Quick Reaction Alert Typhoons defend the UK against potentially hostile aircraft approaching the UK sovereign airspace.
Group Captain Attridge added: “The technology has changed since the Battle of Britain but the mission for the RAF to protect the UK remains unchanged.”
The pictures of the aircraft in the sky were provided by the RAF and are subject to copyright by Richard Paver. The pictures on the ground have been taken by freelance photographer David Dawson.