Shoreham has always been my favourite air show for a variety of reasons. From the age of 11 until I joined the RAF at 17½ I lived in Lancing, just a couple of miles down the road from the airport, and I used to go there on my bike to watch Austers, Tiger Moths etc as well as various Miles aircraft as that was where they were made. Also, my very first flight was from Shoreham in an RAF Anson on “flight experience” with the Air Cadets as I was in the nearby Worthing Squadron.
This year’s show promised to be as good as the previous three that I had been to here, particularly with the prospect of seeing the two Avro Lancasters flying past in formation. However, this was not to be, as the Canadian one was grounded at Durham while they were installing an engine borrowed from the BBMF. I had the good fortune to see them both flying together at Dunsfold the previous weekend, so my plan “C” paid off. (“B” was Bournemouth, the day before Shoreham.) The BBMF Lancaster turned up, along with the Spitfire and Hurricane, and my photo clearly shows how to identify them from their wing shape.
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Our RAFCA stand was in a very unfortunate location this year, right at the edge of the fairground area by the dodgems. We almost had to shout to make ourselves heard above the noise of the music and announcements all afternoon. We had a visit from Air Marshal Sir “Dusty” Miller, President of RAFA, and also from a 90 year old former Valetta pilot who flew with 52 Sqdn. Half way through the afternoon a visitor was thumbing through one of our photo archive albums when he suddenly called out “That’s my dad!”. He had recognised his father in a 52 Sqdn group photo, and immediately rushed off to find him, as he was elsewhere at the show with other family members. They all duly turned up, and the father, former Flt/Lt John Milner, actually recognised other Squadron members from the photo. The picture below shows John Milner with his two sons Geoff (right) and Adrian, and grandson George. To me that was the high point of the whole day, as that’s what makes associations such as ours worth while.
Other activity during the day included, among others, the Breitling Wing Walkers, a display by eight Tiger Moths, a B-17 and a B-25, an RAF Typhoon, two C-47s, two Dragon Rapides, the Blades aerobatic team and a Hawker Hunter. Apart from being the most beautiful aircraft ever built, the Hunter has a particular local connection, as it was just along the coast from here that I watched Neville Duke set up the world speed record of 727mph in September 1953.
As usual, it was a good show, and I look forward to being there again next year (22nd-23rd August).
All photos by author