Two historic organisations got together over the skies of Bedfordshire to mark the Centenary of the First World War in a unique way this month.
The Shuttleworth Collection based at Old Warden Aerodrome were asked by 208(R) Sqn Royal Air Force to take part in an unique operation that saw the Collections Bristol F2B Fighter join forces in the air with the squadrons modern day BAE Hawk T1.
Remarkably – and entirely due to the dedication of the Shuttleworth Collection team of engineers – this WW1 aircraft is still airworthy and wears the markings of 208 Sqn . Due to its rarity and historic significance the Bristol Fighter is flown infrequently, but it’s modern day squadron counterparts from 208 Sqn were extremely fortunate to have been able to span a century of aviation history and fly their Hawks with the 100 year old fighter.
To commemorate the centenary of the start of World War One, 208 squadron designed a paint scheme for their Hawk T1. XX350. The design was based on the colour scheme used on the Bristol F2B Fighter which is housed at the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden Aerodrome in Bedfordshire. This aircraft saw active service with 208 Squadron in 1922 during the Chanak Crisis in Turkey.
Aviation Trustee at the Shuttleworth Collection, Tim Routsis said “As guardians of the Richard Shuttleworth legacy, we were honoured to be asked by 208 Squadron to participate in this unique operation. It was a special moment for those involved to see these two magnificent aircraft flying in formation over the airfield at Old Warden. Both organisations are guardians of our heritage and history in their own right, and we were very pleased to be able to join forces once again”
Current 208 Squadron Officer Commanding, Wing Commander Nick Gatenby said: “It was a tremendous privilege to be given the chance to take 208 Sqn’s current aircraft, the Hawk T1 and formate it alongside one of its first, an original WW1 Bristol Fighter. The challenge of flying both these aircraft in close formation – that naturally operate at the opposite ends of each other’s performance envelope – was considerable. However, as a Sqn that formed during WWI, we felt that marking the Centenary of the Great War by combining these aircraft in a unique aerial shot would be one that would raise awareness of the enormous sacrifice made by so many, so long ago.”