>Shortly after the cessation of hostilities in Western Europe in May 1945, RAF Skeabrae was placed on a Care and Maintenance basis, and after the closure of Scapa Flow Royal Naval Base, was finally sold off in 1957.

After a chance meeting with Orcadian, Derek Mowat, now a successful hotelier in Edinburgh, I became aware that Anthony Hodgson, the owner and operator of one of the few remaining Spitfires, namely PT462, was keen to bring this historic aircraft to Orkney.

With the historic link to RAF Skeabrae and RAF Grimsetter, now Kirkwall Airport, I have looked into the possibility of this being achievable in June of this year. Feeling that this was an idea which could be expanded and become a reality, I sent a few e-mails and made a few phone calls. Peter Vacher is owner and operator of Hurricane R4118, the last surviving Hurricane from The Battle of Britain with flight capability, and he has informed me that he would also be interested in bringing this unique aircraft to Orkney. A further phone call to Derek Mowat indicated that many other pilots of historic aircraft would be willing to participate in an event in Orkney in June.

The current owner of Skeabrae, Stewart Wood of Garson Farm, is very enthusiastic and supportive of the idea to bring historical aircraft to Orkney and has offered to allow them to land at the airstrip for the first time in six decades. Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd are also very supportive of this event.

As time is short and the cost of bringing these aircraft to Orkney to participate in a historic event is considerable, I am asking for volunteers and sponsors who would be willing to support or help sponsor this proposed event, as without such participation, this event will not be possible.

Derek Mowat has very generously pledged 25% of the cost of bringing the Spitfire to Skeabrae. This is potentially a unique and historically significant event for Orkney and I would hope to organise public access to these wonderful aircraft.

If you would be interested in offering either your time or your sponsorship to this unique event, or should you wish any further information, please contact me on 01856 878626 evenings or weekends or e-mail me on thain@thenookorkney.com.

>Per Ardua Ad Astra

>Why “Through Struggle To The Stars”. This is the official RAF translation of Per Ardua Ad Astra, their motto inherited from the Royal Flying Corps.

Legend has it that the motto was suggested by a junior officer, JS Yule, after suggestions were requested by the Commanding Officer of the RFC, Colonel Sykes.