Captain Tom’s Spitfire Flypast

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This is not how we used to do things:

Captain Tom’s spitfire flypast to mark the fundraising hero’s 100th birthday has been cancelled amid fears it will draw crowds.

The planned flight by a restoration company of a lone Spitfire over Captain Tom Moore’s house in Marston Moretaine, Beds, to celebrate his birthday will not now be going ahead on April 30.

Officials in the Department for Transport have deemed the proposed sortie as non-essential travel and are concerned publicity over the flight would draw too many spectators.

I cannot speak from direct experience but a certain genetic memory is tugging at my sleeve. Or rather, Grandfather’s ghost is screaming in rage at the nambies and pambies of this modern world.

Grandpa Worstall ending up as an Air Commodore and setting up, post-WWII, parts of the Pakistani Air Force. Starting out as an artificer and in that first class, along with Frank Whittle, of the proles who were selected for officer training along with the gentlemen. As always happens in such cases, he becoming more imbued with the mustachioed bravado than any of the privileged. There’s a mention of him in The Times archive in the late 1920s when he’s interviewed after his 7 th crash (a Vickers Virginia from memory). There’s also a lovely piccie of him in a biplane flying above (Iraqi? SE5a?)) desert, Snoopy helmet and goggles, white silk scarf tail carefully left to flutter in the wind. I have, on this desk beside me, a foot high brass ashtray/model Spitfire, engraved with his name and “Seafire/Spitfire.” His work on the project, according to family lore, was as a pilot to teach the RN how to stick one on a carrier deck. A further crash in a Hurricane in 1937 (?) left him unable to fly and back doing the engineering for Fighter Command for the duration.

The shouting being along the lines of we didn’t do it that way in my day. The very fact that the civilians were wibbling would have had half a squadron doing barrel rolls over that house. In unison. The only reason the other half weren’t there was because they were already in the police cells following their visit to the gentlemen of the DoT the day before – said DoTTers sadly now on the waiting list for the NHS which would be invented in a few years’ time.

Of course the world is different today, better in so many ways. It’s also true that the whole Capt Tom thing is maudlin’ nonsense and yet, and yet, it’s very difficult to say that when the Man from the Ministry gets to stop, with merely a word, a romantic and ridiculous gesture that it’s a better one all over, isn’t it?

Grandpa W was indeed archaic, even in his own day in many a way. And yet his ghost volunteering to load those cannon for the flying visit to the DoT so obviously needed has a point, doesn’t it?

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Snarkus
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Snarkus

Sad, An irrational exuberance or sentimental gesture makes society interesting and somehow, appears appropriate. Another example of the management delusion. Everything must be controlled, whether the effort makes sense of not.

swannypol
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swannypol

Indeed, the whole shebang is an exuberant and sentimental gesture, starting with the niave belief that the NHS needs the money, even would spend it wisely on sourcing PPE effectively on the open market were it gifted it, rather than dumping it in some bucket or other for later use. It seems very much the same as the scrap railing collected as part of the war effort. Hats of to Tom, a massive morale raiser, but no practical use anywhere. Lets fly the damned planes!

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Perhaps the fact that a Spitfire was to be the plane flown is part of the reason for the cancellation, after all many a civil servant probably believes that it shameful that the Battle of Britain was won.

Raffles
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Raffles

Shame the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight won’t do it instead. Since they’re RAF the DoT can whistle.

No chance, I guess..

Bloke in North Dorset
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Bloke in North Dorset

“Civilian control of the armed forces” means they’d be blocked as well. They’d certainly need permission.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Seems like the BBMF will be there

Raffles
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Raffles

Just saw. Fantastic!

Snarkus
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Snarkus

Excellent!. Most appropriate and not a bureacrat able to stop it.

Bloke in North Dorset
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Bloke in North Dorset

Yes. I saw something but can’t find it now saying that Chris Grayling, Transport Sec, had stepped in.

If true it makes you wonder what the bureaucrats were thinking. Given this guy’s going to replace St George as our patron saint, or at least become patron saint of the NHS, you think they have kicked the decision up to ministerial level in the first place.

Pat
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Pat

Maybe they could do a pass under Tower Bridge and buzz the HoC instead?

Oswald Thake
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Oswald Thake

With a full weapon load.

Phoenix44
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Phoenix44

Not to be a saddo, but the first Seafires weren’t flown until late 1941, though the idea was first mooted just before the War started. SO your Grandfather couldn’t have flown a Seafire if he was grounded in 1937 unfortunately.