Monday, April 30, 2007

Salute to the Vulcan and her pilot which led historic Falklands raid...

After the weekend announcement on the demise of the Jaguar jet over Lincolnshire skies, then the return of the wartime Lancaster, news of the Vulcan, another aircraft with strong links to Lincs.

On the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War, a pilot who took part in the world's longest non-stop bombing mission in history tells his story in today's Northern Echo.

Twenty-five years ago today, Martin Withers was piloting the first of seven Avro Vulcans in an epic 16-hour mission from Ascension to bomb Port Stanley runway.

Martin's story is well worth a read, but I found his comments on the war itself most revealing.

He is right on when he says the conflict could have been avoided.

Martin says:
'Britain was giving strong signals that we were losing interest in the Falklands, putting very little effort into defending the place...I don't think they believed we had the will to defend the Falklands.'
He won the Distinguished Flying Cross for his part in the missions. Margaret Thatcher won the 1983 General Election on the back of Victory in the Falklands - despite huge blunders by her Government in the build-up to war.

The Vulcan of course is fondly remembered across Lincolnshire: it's long-time home was RAF Waddington near Lincoln: vintage Vulcan airframe XM607 still graces the airfield there. (I took this snap from the A15 a few months ago).

Now 61 and a civil airline pilot from York, Martin Withers hopes to captain a Vulcan for a fly-past over The Mall, in London, in June to mark the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War.

That will be a rare sight worth seeing!

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