BBMF at centre of controversy over Dambusters 75th anniversary celebrations

Mike Woodward took this photograph of the Typhoon above RAF Coningsby at the beginning of the month.
Mike Woodward took this photograph of the Typhoon above RAF Coningsby at the beginning of the month.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) is at the centre of controversy over what has been described as a ‘mix-up’ at a fly past yesterday (Wednesday) to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dambusters raid.

The BBMF - based at RAF Coningsby - confirmed its Lancaster bomber would not be able to take part in the event as planned because of high winds.

The Lancaster was due to stage a flypast at Derwent Dam in Derbyshire.

The Derwent is one of the sites where the 617 Dambusters’ squadron practised dropping ‘bouncing bombs’ designed by Barnes Wallis and used against the Germans.

Instead of the Lancaster, the BBMF confirmed a Typhoon from RAF Coningsby would stage a flypast .

However, Sqn Ldr Andy Millikin, the Officer Commanding the BBMF, tweeted that the Typhoon would not make it to the dam either, due to poor weather.

As a result, big crowds who had gathered to witness the fly past started to make their way home - when the Typhoon roared overhead.

The confusion led to several people criticising the BBMF on Twitter for a ‘lack of communication’.

Some people said they had travelled long distances to attend while others said families had taken time off work and school.

However, many other people tweeted in support of the BBMF and the RAF, saying that the criticism was horrible and that people should remember the many airmen who lost their lives in the Dambusters raid.