Taking to the skies to honour Major Lance

A WRAGBY pilot paid homage to a wartime hero by taking a nostalgic flight from Wickenby airfield to the battlefields of northern France last week.

Sixty-year-old Stewart Smith flew a replica De Haviland DH2 open cockpit plane across the English Channel – the first time such a flight had been completed since 1918.

It was all in tribute to Major Lance Hawker, the first ace of the Royal Flying Corps and the first airman to be awarded the Victoria Cross, the nation’s highest gallantry award, in 1915.

Mr Smith is a private pilot who regularly flies from Wickenby airport.

The flight was timed carefully so he was flying over the war cemetery at Thiepual and the Somme on Armistice Day at 11am.

The airplane, which belongs to Wickenby airfield, is only one of two in the world being a replica of this First World War Bi-plane.