Battle of Britain flypast: Spitfires, Hurricanes and Typhoon fighter jets to take part in flying display over Buckingham Palace

 
Catherine Neilan
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Spitfires: Crucial to defeating Hitler during the Battle of Britain (Source: Getty)
Iconic planes used during the Second World War will take part in a flypast over Buckingham Palace today to mark the 75th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain.
Four Spitfires and two Hurricanes will lead the flypast, followed by four RAF Typhoon fighter jets, which will represent the squadrons that flew in 1940.
The Queen will watch the planes fly overhead from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, along with the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William and other members of the royal family.
The planes will reach Buckingham Palace at 11:45am today. The flypast will be followed by a Feu de Joie (‘Fire of Joy’ – a celebratory cascade of rifle fire) and three cheers for The Queen.
An enhanced changing of the guard will be performed by the RAF Queen’s Colour Squadron. It will include ten standards – military flags carried on poles – of Battle of Britain squadrons still serving in the RAF today, as well as the RAF Central Band and RAF Regiment Band.
Today's date is widely regarded as the start of the Battle of Britain, a key moment in World War II.
On 10 July 1940, the Luftwaffe carried out a series of attacks on shipping convoys in the Channel – the first attack under Operation Sealion, Hitler's attempt to defeat Britain.
Just over 640 aircraft were flown by the RAF that day, and pilots shot down 14 enemy aircraft, damaging 23 more.
Hitler suspended Operation Sealion on 17 September.


A Spitfire and a Hurricane as they appeared in Guy Hamilton's film 'Battle Of Britain', 1969 (Source: Getty)

Throughout the Battle of Britain nearly 3,000 aircrew served, of which around 30 are still alive. Six of those men will have lunch with the Queen at the RAF Club in Piccadilly today.
The commemoration will continue over the weekend, with Memorial Day at the National Memorial to the Few taking place on Sunday.
There will be a special memorial flight display at 3pm on Sunday, again featuring Spitfires and Hurricanes. But organisers said "the real stars of the show will, as always, be those members of the Few who take the General Salute at 1.30pm".
The event, on Sunday 12 July at the Capel-le-Ferne site, will kick off at 10.30am with a display by the Kent Wing Air Training Corps Band.
The RAF Central Band will perform at 1.15pm, before the Trust’s patron, Prince Michael of Kent, takes the royal salute, accompanied by the veterans.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will then make its first appearance, performing a flypast to herald the start of the service of commemoration ahead of the longer 3pm display. The day will end with a sunset ceremony at 4pm.
The event is free to attend but is expected to be busy, so spectators are advised to arrive early.

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