WEDNESDAY turned out to be a red letter day for 99-year-old former RAF serviceman Charles Stokes when he received a special flypast at Gaywood in a salute to World War II ground crews.
Mr Stokes, who worked with Spitfire squadrons at RAF Duxford in Cambridgeshire, was joined by retired Wing Cmdr Ken Wallis and friends and neighbours to watch the tribute from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire.
The fighter aircraft had flown over the Tower Gardens at Lynn during the annual Battle of Britain memorial service before heading to Gaywood.
Mr Stokes, who was at Duxford at the same time as ace pilot Douglas Bader, said: “It was interesting to hear that powerful Rolls Royce engine again and it did me a world of good. The Spitfire did a couple of turns as the crowd watched and it made my day.”
The flypast was arranged by Andrew Stevenson, of Gaywood’s Clockwash laundrette, who got to know Mr Stokes through doing his laundry.
Four years ago he took him back to Duxford, for the first time in 60-plus years, for a VIP tour. Recalling his time at Duxford, where 60 Spitfires were based during the Battle of Britain, Mr Stokes, who was mentioned in dispatches after the war, said: “Bader was up front with his V-formation and I was there in the engineering section.”
n PERSONNEL from RAF Marham parade at Tuesday Market Place in Lynn tomorrow as they exercise their freedom of the borough. The mayor takes the salute at noon.