A final salute to HM Queen Elizabeth II at the Duxford Battle of Britain Air show

By Juri Keyter

What a powerful moment it was when the two-minute silence observed on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was ended by a roaring Spitfire flying past at full-throttle to open the 2022 Battle of Britain air show at Duxford this weekend. For a moment I paused to absorb the moment, and as electrifying as it was, it still could not prepare me for the lump in my throat at the closing of the show.

The air show finale began when 17 Supermarine Spitfires and 4 Hawker Hurricanes taxied out and started their engine run-ups right in front of me. I cannot put this feeling and sound into words, photos or videos.

They took off in groups of 4 to form a formation of 20 Aircraft while one Spitfire Mk XIV (the only Griffon engine fitted Spitfire on the day) assumed the role of Joker (Joker is a reference used to define the aircraft entertaining the crowd in-between the formation passes).

The formation made 3 passes but on the last pass, one aircraft from each 4-ship sub-formation broke away in “missing-man” style and started the long downwind line to land. Roaring Spitfires and Hurricanes crossed the threshold one by one on the British Anthem “God Save The King”, a moment I will never forget.

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Of course, British aircraft was the focus of the day but there were many WWII aircraft from all corners of the world to mark this historic event. American fighters of WWII were well represented and included a P-51D Mustang 'Tall In The Saddle', a F8F-2P Bearcat, a Grumman FM2 Wildcat, a Curtiss Hawk 75 and the awesome Corsair FG-1D.

Two Hispano HA-1112 Buchons performed a flawless display as always. In essence, these Buchons are Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters but fitted with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.

I am so privileged to have witnessed this once in a life-time air show, a day I will never forget.
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