Spitfires to fly over York to commemorate anniversary of key battle

The unmistakable shape of a Spitfire. Photograph © Tim Felce on Wikimedia Commons
12 Aug 2015 @ 7.16 pm
| History

Look to the skies on Thursday afternoon (August 13) and you will see a stirring sight – Spitfires at 4 o’clock (or shortly afterwards).

The iconic aircraft are taking to the skies across Yorkshire to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Unternehmen Adlerangriff, the German operation to destroy the Royal Air Force in the Second World War.

Spitfires from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be joined by private Spitfire owners.

As many as 13 Spitfires will launch from Humberside Airport and split into three sections of aircraft to fly over as many villages, towns and cities as fuel will allow.

They are due over York at 4.12pm.

It will enable us to see and hear these wonderful historic aircraft – and remember the sacrifices made by the young men of Fighter Command 75 years ago.

Operation Eagle Attack

Known in English as Operation Eagle Attack, Unternehmen Adlerangriff was the first day of Adlertag – the German attempt to destroy the Royal Air Force, clearing the way for the invasion of Britain.

The Nazi attacks on August 13, 1940, inflicted significant damage and casualties on the ground but they did not make a significant impression on Fighter Command’s ability to defend British air space.

The engagements resulting from Adlertag became known as the Battle of Britain.

Seeing the Spitfires

Two Spitfires in mid flight. Photograph © Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight
An amazing sight. Photograph © Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight

The precise route of the planes coming over York is uncertain.

We asked Henry Else, from the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight, if they would be over York Minster.

He said: “The particular group covering the York flypast is a privately owned collection and so I don’t know their exact route.

“A standard flypast is at 1,000ft and York Minster would be an ideal area to go over.”

Meanwhile Barry Beckwith, on the popular York Past & Present Facebook page, has been doing some possible route calculations.

He posted: “If you draw a line from the Humber Bridge to Linton on Ouse, a calculated guess would be Elvington, Heslington, City Centre, Holgate, and Poppleton.”

The timings are more certain.

Spitfire flypast timings

4.03pm Humber Bridge

4.12pm York

4.15pm Linton on Ouse

4.18pm Thirsk

4.21pm Leeming

4.25pm Teeside

4.35pm Whitby

4.40pm Scarborough

4.44pm Bridlington

4.51pm Hull