Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours

On Tour - RAAF Bomber Command in the UK Tour 10 July 2023


We left Bedford behind as we headed north into Bomber country, which is Lincolnshire. The country is generally very flat which, of course, allows for many airstrips to be built.

RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire is one of two RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Stations which protect UK airspace. RAF Lossiemouth is the other. RAF Coningsby is home to two frontline, combat-ready squadrons and is the training station for Typhoon pilots. Almost 3,000 Service Personnel, Civil Servants, and contractors work at RAF Coningsby. RAF Coningsby was built just before World War Two and became the home of 617 Squadron, known as the Dambusters, during the second half of the war. Later, it was the base for the Vulcan bomber. But we were there to visit the Home of the BBMF, the Battle for Britain Memorial flight.

BBMF is one of the most treasured hangars in the Royal Air Force. ... RAF Coningsby is a military environment so no bags are permitted on public tours.

The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) operates from RAF Coningsby, a Typhoon base, in Lincolnshire. The mission of the RAF BBMF is to maintain the priceless artefacts of our national heritage in airworthy condition in order to commemorate those who have fallen in the service of this country. The RAF BBMF also serves to promote the modern day Air Force and to inspire the future generations.

The Flight operates six Spitfires, two Hurricanes, a Lancaster, a C47 Dakota, and two Chipmunk aircraft (primarily for training). The aircraft are flown by regular RAF Aircrew. These aircraft can be regularly seen in the skies over the UK from May to September each year. They are flown to celebrate and commemorate public and military events from State occasions such as Trooping the Colour to major airshows and flypasts for public events.

They are proud to have His Royal Highness Prince William, Prince of Wales, as Patron.

HISTORY The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) was inaugurated on 11 July 1957 at RAF Biggin Hill. It was initially called the RAF Historic Aircraft Flight and consisted of three PR Mk XIX Spitfires and the RAF's last airworthy Hurricane, LF363. It was then renamed to be the Battle of Britain Flight before a final renaming in 1969 to what it is known as today, BBMF. Between 1959 and 1965 the flight had one Spitfire (PM631) and one Hurricane (LF363) on its strength. Now, as a 'museum without walls', it maintains twelve historic and irreplaceable aircraft: an Avro Lancaster, a C-47 Dakota, six Spitfires, two Hurricanes and two de Havilland Chipmunk training aircraft. The BBMF is a regular RAF unit, manned by service personnel and funded by the Ministry of Defence. Their Moto is "Lest We Forget". We had an excellent tour with a guide throughout the hanger with the plane from the BBMF. Sometimes we had difficulty hearing the presenter due to the noise of the Typhoons taking off and landing on the adjacent runway. An excellent visit, but there will be more tomorrow as we stay in the area for another day.

Graham Fleeton.


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