Yesterday I went with my son Marc and his wife and children to the Duxford Air Show. Marc had been given some free tickets, due to the fact that he is employed as a CNC machinist and sometimes has to make parts for the old 1940’s aeroplanes that are being restored at Duxford.
We arrived just at the right time for a fly-past by working Spitfires, Lancaster bombers, and Messerschmitts. Quite a lot of the spectators were dressed in 1940’s costumes. In-between craning my neck upwards I looked around at many elderly folk there , some in wheelchairs, whom I assume would have seen the planes flying overhead in their heyday or might have even been one of the pilots. They were looking up transfixed at the fly-past, some in tears, lost in thoughts of long ago. After the wartime display we were treated to a fly-past of several jet fighters, but their incredible roaring caused my little grandsons to cover their ears.
I couldn’t help thinking that each one of those WWII pilots had been some mother’s son. Marc stood in front of me, alive and vibrant, and I couldn’t even begin to think about being one of those 1940 mothers who kissed their son goodbye as he went off to war with the unspoken knowledge passing between them that he might never return.
I asked Marc that if he had been of the right age in 1940, would he have resisted conscription? He answered straight away that he would have made sure he secured a job as a machinist making parts for aeroplanes!
We walked around the site. All the old aircraft hangars are still there, some of them now turned into museums. It’s a fascinating insight into the lives of the airmen who flew on so many dangerous missions out of Duxford all those years ago. If you’re ever in that part of Cambridgeshire, I thoroughly recommend a visit.