Memories revived as historic Lancaster thrills the crowds


One of the most historic aircraft in the world graced the skies over Durham Tees Valley Airport today, watched by thousands of people.

The sell-out crowd were treated to a superb display by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s World War 2 Avro Lancaster bomber—one of only two left flying in the world. The aircraft is on a two-month tour of the UK and today’s visit to Durham Tees Valley was regarded as one of the highlights because of the airfield’s history as a wartime base for Royal Canadian Air Force flyers, many of whom gave their lives.

Amongst those was Pilot Office Andrew Mynarski, posthumously awarded the VC for his efforts to save a comrade when they were shot down on a mission from the airfield—then known as Middleton St George. His statue stands outside the airport’s St George Hotel and was the centrepiece of the start of the day’s events with many veterans attending the ceremonies organised by the Middleton St George Memorial Association.

For visitors there were many attractions, including other aircraft old and new, veteran cars and military vehicles, together with wartime entertainment at the hotel which served as the officer’s mess during the war - but the undoubted star of the show was the Lancaster which thrilled the crowds with its low-level flying display over the airfield.

Said Airport Manager Shaun Woods who oversaw the organisation of the event:

We really had only a few weeks to prepare for such a massive event, but we were delighted with the support we received from all those connected with the aircraft and museum, as well as literally hundreds of people and dozens of organisations who helped to make it such a success.

Most of all I’m delighted with response we received from the public—it was a tremendous experience to see people of all ages…from veterans who served on Lancasters and those for whom they were a regular sight in the sky to young children who were given a glimpse of a very different world 70 years ago.

I am sure that everyone who saw today’s display will have come away with a real appreciation not just of the aircraft but the bravery of those whose sacrifices helped to defend the freedoms we all enjoy today.

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