On 15th September 2015, two wounded veterans took to the air in formation with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and were joined by a Battle of Britain veteran and Ace as part of the largest gathering of Spitfires and Hurricanes since World War 2.
Nathan Forster and Alan Robinson, both very seriously injured whilst serving in HM Forces, have been training with Boultbee Flight Academy over the past six months under an Endeavour Fund supported scholarship with the final aim of flying solo in the Spitfire. The scholarship which has been delivered by Boultbee Flight Academy was originally inspired by the story of Douglas Bader, an incredible pilot who lost both legs in a flying accident in 1931 but went on to become an Ace during the Battle of Britain.
Nathan and Alan were joined by dozens of pilots from around the world as wave after wave of aircraft took off from the grass runway on the Goodwood Estate that served as a very busy RAF Base during the summer of 1940. The deep, growling rumble of Merlin engines stirred emotions in the crowd of 30,000 people who had gathered to watch the spectacle; it was clear that these sights and sounds are incredibly evocative, especially for the many veterans of WW2 who joined the celebrations on the day.
Prince Harry was due to fly with the formation but when he heard that Nathan Forster’s aircraft had become unserviceable, he graciously stood aside and insisted that Nathan took his seat.
The 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain was an incredible day, the like of which we are unlikely to see in the future as Winston Churchill’s ‘Few’ sadly become fewer. The Endeavour Fund was honoured to have played a small part in this commemoration of the selfless actions undertaken in the past, and linking them to the inspiring veterans of today through the Spitfire Scholarship.