Those Magnificent Men

My husband and I, with our two boys met up with friends near the Boscombe Pier, Bournemouth a few weeks ago, to watch those magnificent men and women in their flying machines.

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2017 Southampton summer was a little disappointing. A complete contrast to the long dry summer of 2016. So wet, my tomatoes rotted on the” vine”, and we only dined alfresco on the patio on two occasions.

Weather forecast studied, we decided to go to the Air Fest on the Friday. Thursdays display was a bit dodgy weather-wise and the report for Sat was no more inspiring, Friday it was and I wrote it in my diary; all was arranged.

With picnic hamper, complete with two enormous flasks of hot water supplying my tea habit I was ready to sit all afternoon.

The sun shone, a few threatening clouds gathered intermittently giving reprieve from the heat, as we sat between the loud speaker and the big screen along with teeming multitudes stripped off securing the last layer of tan to lay down for the winter.

With verbal commentary and close up visuals on the big screen supporting the real event in the skies we were wowed by the Red Arrows…

a Spitfire…

spitfire

an RAF Chinook helicopter…

chinook

Tigers Freefall Parachute Team…

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an MiG-15 Russian fighter…

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a B-17G Flying Fortress ‘Sally B’…

Flying fortress

a P-51D Mustang ‘Shark Mouth’…

Shark mouth

the Bristol Blenheim British bomber…

Bristol blenheim

The Blades Aerobatic Team…

The Blades aerobatic display team and their Extra EA-300s

and the Xtreme Air XA-41, piloted by Gerald Cooper…

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As children of WWII survivors’ conversations were awash. My mum and her sister as very young girls, name tagged, like these girls below, were put on a train, and evacuated from Glasgow.

evacuation

My husband’s dad incarcerated in a POW camp in Japan, (like these men below) having been captured in Hong Kong where he was deployed as part of the British Army.

 

I told my stories about living around the corner from Sir Keith Park’s in Remuera, Auckland, NZ.

Sir_Keith_Park with hurricane

His chats with my mother and his generous smile and wave to me.

My husband told the story of his neighbour in the 60’s buying Lady Park’s Austin car – clearly we were destined to marry!!

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And we reminded the boys of their WWII “experience” as extras in Narnia Prince Caspian train station scene. (The young boy in black holding the handrail).

Prince Caspian

Our youngest, then, four, having all his curly locks cut off to sport a 1940’s look, ended up the darling of the set as he won over the extras in their army uniforms with a salute as he walked by them on set each day.

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WWII, the holocaust, the post war depression stamped its mark on our lives and highlighted the need to KNOW our history and to HAND it down to our children.

There seems to be a privileged generation (privileged because men and women of yesteryear laid down their lives for them), who do not know and who do not value history.

Maybe a good dose of history would give the “easily-triggered”, perspective and context to their lives. They could be an asset instead of a liability to family, culture and Nation…Just saying!

Keith_Park_statue,_Waterloo_Place

As for one of New Zealand’s favourite sons, Air Chief Marshal, Sir Keith Park, his statue may be thought, a tad boring by some critics, but it does this daughter of a WWII survivor, the world-of-good to be able to have him immortalised in London in gratitude for western freedom, liberty and justice.

 

Freedom, liberty and justice for us all to flourish in.

 

 

www.antoinettejames.com

 

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