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?