>What a night

>The Skea Brae event now over, it was time for the planned display.  The generous contributions meant we could put on something special.

Derek and I had talked at length and with the assistance of the pilots and a late change to the timings, it was time for the SE5A to show its agility.  The SE5A was the Spitfire of its day.  Neil Geddes put on a fantastic display and everyone around me was astounded.

John Moffat was in his element as I had given him my hand scanner tuned to the display frequency and he knew everything that was happening before it did.

Then came the Pitts Special piloted by Dai.  He really put it through its paces and it was surprising just how fast it is.  Again gasps from the crowd said it all.

At 1806 it was time for PT462.  The sound of the merlin was unmistakeable and in a subsequent coversation between Derek and myself, we both admitted to having lumps in our throat when we realised that we had achieved everything we set out to do.

It was amazing when I looked from the pier towards Hatston and the Ayre Rd, out Cromwell Road towards Carness.  I have never seen anything like it.  The number of people who had come to watch the event was, I would guess, in the 1000’s.  Even a coach tour from The Kirkwall Hotel had gone out to Hatston to watch.

The Spitfire proceeded to put on an outstanding display which left me absolutely speechless.  The howl of the merlin engine reminded me of war movies when I was peedie.

I spoke to an ex colleague today who said when the Spitfire flew over his head at high speed he had a tear in his eye.  We are absolutely over the moon that so many people took the time to come and see the event and extremely happy it seemed to be enjoyed by all.  Thank you for taking the time to come and look and hoefully you got a suntan at the same time.

Once the Spitfire radioed end of display, I had to rush to the airport so I could say goodbye to everyone.  A final wave to all, a quick flypast and the event that has consumed my life for the last 9 weeks was over.

There are so many people to thank for everything but I will attempt to do it before posting up my final photographs.

Derek Mowat for working with me side by side all the way
Stewart Wood of Garson Farm for allowing us to use Skea Brae
John Moffat for his presence, enthusiasm and memories
Loganair Engineering for their help and for providing a fantastic venue, special mention to Vic Murphy
Jonathan Hinkles, Commercial Director, Loganair, for bringing John Moffat to Orkney
Sheena Taylor for her memories, knowledge and fantastic contribution over the 2 days
David Blackman, Airport Manager for allowing public access to the ramp
Caroline Williams, Marketing Manager, HIAL for her support and exposure on the website
Airport Security Staff for their assistance in looking after the public
Info Desk Staff for assisting the public and putting up with me
Air Traffic Control for their assistance, special mention to Darren Jackson
Anthony Hodgson, Neil Geddes, Dai Heather Hayes and Jim McTaggart for their outstanding displays, their time and comittment to all visitors to the airport and the Orkney public
Richard and William Shearer for all their help and transporting John Moffat to the private viewing in their vintage car
Walter Scott for bringing his vintage vehicle to the photo shoot
Andrew Brown for using G-WIFE for the air to air shots and his company
Jean Marie Urlacher for his photographs assisted by Torquil Clyde
The Loganair pilots for giving up their usual parking spot for the two days
John Bain for his support and assistance
Scott Harcus for unknowingly allowing an invasion in his barley field
Airfayre for an outstanding buffet
Chris Wild for providing a shuttle to the hangar from the terminal
Jim Marr for driving the shuttle
The Orcadian, Orkney Today and Ken Amer and David Hartley for covering the event
David Morgan, from the Fresson Trust for his support and guidance
Radio Orkney
Everyone who offered assistance
And everyone who took the time to come and see this unique event
My wife Shona, for putting up with me and supporting me for the last 2 months
And to all those who have taken the time to thank us for this historical event
And in particular, everyone who funded the event, without whom none of this would have happened:

Derek Mowat 1000
Lawrie and Maggie Mitchell 200

C Thomson 100

Andrew Brown 200

Ian Thain 50

Jim and Jean Thompson 200

Neil & Shona Thain 200

Eddie Ratter 200

Norman Brass 200

R Clouston 100

DS Nicolson 100

Donald Mowat 100

Olly Sinclair 100

Jim Nicolson 50

MT Austin 100

Kirkwall Hotel 200

Airfayre 50

G & A Barnie 100

RAFA/Colin Wylie 100

Gwenda Shearer 100

Craigies’s Taxis 100

Wm Shearer 150

Scorralee B&B 100

Alan Peace/JD Peace 350

Andy Newlands 200

Michael Shearer 50

Leslie Alexander 100

Sandy Thomson 100

Bruce and Kirsty Mainland 200

Walter Scott 50

Colin Gregg 100

Munro’s Garage 100

Tait Orkney 100

JG Shearer & Sons 100

Liz Melvin/Ivan Stevenson 50

Charlie Kemp 200

Sheena Taylor 100

Inglis Lyon,HIAL 500

Billy McEwen 200

Grand total £6300. 

A fantastic amount of money raised over the period.

So how much did it cost to put on this display?  Good job I got an A in my arithmetic O level:

Total out £6298.52

We didn’t make a loss, nor did we make a profit, so sadly there is not enough left to make a donation.  I hope that the event more than makes up for it.

I am extremely proud that the tribute flypast at Skea Brae happened as planned, that many people met the pilots, got to see the aircraft and got the chance to meet John Moffat.  The pilots were a great bunch and kept their fees to a minimum as they were as happy as we were for them to come to Orkney.

I learned a lot met a lot of new friends and would certainly do it all again.  Before I post my final photographs I just want to remind everyone what this was all about.

On the 16th of June 1940 Winston Churchill said:

“The Battle of France is over, I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin”

At the end of the battle he said:

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

He was right on both counts, I hope between us that we have done something to honour their memory. 

Hope you enjoyed it!

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