Blackpool flies the flag for Battle of Britain Day with Illuminations and a Hurricane fly-past

Blackpool has staged a spectacular tribute to mark the 80th anniversary of Battle of Britain Day.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 12:30 pm

The resort has released a video compilation featuring two of the iconic fighter planes that took part in the battle, an Illuminations display that includes the lighting up of The Blackpool Tower in red, white and blue, and a performance by Britain’s favourite wartime group, the D-Day Darlings.

And the Hangar 42 aviation museum at Blackpool Airport is playing host to a vintage, air-worthy Hurricane fighter of the type which fought in Polish colours against the Nazis in the Battle of Britain. The aircraft performed a fly-past along the Prom.

The short film was released today on Battle of Britain Day, , to commemorate the heroic deeds of those who fought for their country and can be viewed at www.visitblackpool.com/battleofbritain

Lytham-based display pilot Dave Harvey in the Polish Heritage Flight Hawker Hurricane which was at Hangar 42 at Blackpool Airport for Battle of Britain Day, September 15

During the Second World War, Blackpool was one of the largest military training centres in the world with almost 800,000 RAF recruits undergoing initial training there. At the time, Blackpool residents raised funds to sponsor three Spitfires known as Progress I, II and III.

One of the replica Spitfires, owned by the Hangar 42 team and nicknamed “Holly”, is playing a starring role in this year’s Blackpool Illuminations display in Gynn Square, with the fuselage lit with sweeping search lights and a dazzling laser show.

Coun Gillian Campbell, Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture for Blackpool Council, said: “Blackpool has a proud history of aviation and a long and lasting relationship with the armed forces.

“During this pandemic, we have lost some of our traditional events such as Armed Forces Week and the air show, but we were determined not to let this Battle of Britain anniversary go unnoticed.”

The D-Day Darlings with the Spitfire at Gynn Square where it is forming part of the Illuminations display this year

John Coombes from the team at Hangar 42 said: “We have been thrilled to play host to the Polish Heritage Hurricane Flight during Battle of Britain week. As we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle it is vitally important that these are not forgotten as the generations pass.”

Hangar 42 played host to a VIP evening to show off the

It is part of the Polish Heritage Flight from the Historic Aircraft Collection based at Duxford Airfield near Cambridge and is flown on display by Lytham-based pilot Dave Harvey.

The 1942 aircraft, painted in the colours of the famous 303 Polish Squadron which fought in the Battle of Britain, will be visiting the Hangar 42 aviation museum from September 11 to 16.

Visitors to Hangar 42 got up close and personal with the 1942 vintage aircraft and got to speak to pilot Dave Harvey

Johns Coombes said: "More than 50 elected Members and Senior Officers turned up for the open evening. They had the opportunity to speak with Hawker Hurricane Pilot Dave Harvey and also have a tour around Hurricane R4175.

"The guests were hosted by Volunteers from the Lytham St Annes Spitfire Ground Display Team at Hangar 42 and got to experience the Lancaster Bomber Virtual Reality bombing Mission over Berlin and also try out the Spitfire Flight Combat Simulator.

"Guests, who included the Leader’s of both Blackpool and Fylde Councils learned about the WW2 history of the Fylde Coast and the part played by RAF Squires Gate and RAF Stanley Park during the War years."

Katie Ashby, lead singer and founder of The D-Day Darlings added: "We're thrilled and proud to be involved with this special feature celebrating the special 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, as part of the famous Blackpool illuminations.

Inside Hangar 42 where Dave Harvey spoke about the Hurricane

“Our proud affiliation with Blackpool started 12 years ago when the group was first formed with performances at various hotels around the resort. Blackpool played a huge role in the war and kept spirits up with a packed program of shows, making our involvement in this momentous occasion so poignant.”

The Hurricane flies along the Prom as the Illuminations are switched on