The first Lancaster of Summer
The beer was cold and inviting as it sat bubbling away almost silently on the table. I was sitting with my feet up on the patio having a well earned rest after finishing off the lawn mowing. Just to make the evening perfect, I was finishing off some home made fruit pie. Life doesnt get much better than this! The birds were serenading me as I sat there; in fact there were no man made sounds on offer, just the evening chorus from my feathered neighbours as they busied themselves with the business of feeding fledglings and setting down for the night.
Then, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. Very faintly, unseen in the distance I heard a rumble. Not just any rumble, a Rolls Royce rumble. It was the sound that the ears of many hundreds of groundcrew members strained to hear in the dark days of World War II. The sound I have loved ever since I was a small child and the sound, above all others that brings lightness into the heart of this cynical (some times too cynical) erstwhile and possibly lapsing Aviation Enthusiast I leaped from my chair, grabbed my beer and ran to the end of the garden. My eyes straining into the setting sun I searched out the source of the sound.
And there she was, way off in the distance. Barely skimming the horizon. Following the A420 I fancy. It was the Lancaster and she wasnt alone! The two small dots with her in trail were the fighters. The sound of the Merlins became clearer, sweeter but no louder. But it was music to my ears. It was the finest sound that has ever been produced by an internal combustion engine.
The fighters tightened up the formation as the flew towards their intended destination, a flypast at the Military College at Shrivenham some 14 miles as the crow flies away and the three dots became one as they did so. But even at that distance you can’t mistake the Lancaster. Its beauty and grace belaying its origins as an instrument of war. Its mission to bring death and destruction to Our enemies. Its crews suffering unthinkable hardship and terror to get the job done.
And then as soon as they appeared they were gone. Disappearing behind the houses and distant trees, the sound didnt linger. But it was no matter, the hairs on the back of my neck were still standing, just as they always do when I hear her.
I stood at the gate, waiting in vain for a glimpse of the return journey. As the bird song replaced the distant rumble had time to collect my thoughts. Three things came to mind.
The sacrifice of the young men who flew those aircraft during the second World war must never be forgotten,to wit..
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are the single most important display act flown by the Royal Air Force.
Despite my many misgivings and frustrations with my chosen hobby. As long as that sound can produce that kind of reaction in me. I am still an Aviation Nut!
I sit writing this with the window open, my ears still straining for the sound of those Merlins even though I know they were scheduled to land back at home base half an hour ago! Long may they continue to fly
Thank you BBMF
Lest We Forget.