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Imperial War Museum Duxford - Press Release

Imperial War Museum Duxford - Press Release

The Great War Display Team at The Duxford Air Show
Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September

Commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War

As we commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, we’re delighted to announce that The Great War Display Team will feature in The Duxford Air Show (Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September) .

The Team takes to the skies with replica First World War Fokker Dr1 triplanes, a Sopwith triplane, Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a aircraft, Junkers CL1 aircraft and Royal Aircraft Factory BE2 aircraft.

The Great War Display Team’s two replica Fokker Dr1s were built by John Day and first flew in 2006.

Fokker Dr1 403/17 replicates the Dr1 flown by Lieutenant Johann Janez of Jasta 6, JGI. It carries the unit markings of a black and white striped tail and black cowling, with Janzen’s personal marking of a white snake line on a black band, edged with white on the rear fuselage.

Janzen joined the German Air Force on 4 May 1916. Following pilot training, he was assigned to Jasta 23 in November 1916 and scored his first victory with this unit before being reassigned to Jasta 6 in October 1917. He briefly assumed command of Jasta 4 on 28 March 1918 but, just a week later, returned to Jasta 6 as its new Commanding Officer.

Scoring his fifth victory on 4 May 1918, Janzen’s Fokker Dr1 was shot down five days later when his rudder cable was shot away. He survived the crash and scored eight more victories, giving him a total of 13 kills before he was shot down again on 9 June 1918. On this occasion, the interrupter gear on his Dr1 malfunctioned during a dogfight with a SPAD aircraft and he shot off his own propeller.

Janzen again survived but was captured and remained a prisoner until the end of the war.

After the sad death of John Day, who owned and built this replica Fokker Dr1 aircraft, it was bought by Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden and enthusiastic pilot, who will fly the aircraft at The Duxford Air Show.

Bruce says: “Aeroplanes started at the age of five with my godfather, in the RAF during the siege of Malta and one of ‘Trenchard’s apprentices’. My uncle was RAF and also an engineer. Until age 30 plastic aeroplanes and Biggles was as far as I got. Rubbish at maths and physics, I talked myself out of applying to the RAF and nearly joined the Army. Luckily for the UK military I became a rock singer instead. I started actually flying at the ripe old age of 30. 7,000 hours later I finished up as a Boeing 757 Captain and 737 instructor. Luckily the aircraft design I fly is still older than me but the gap is closing. In my spare time I sing a bit, own a company that fixes airliners and am trying to bring airships back into the skies. Actually, I should have been born in 1898, not 1958. C’est la vie.”

Replica Fokker Dr1 556/17 is owned by Pete Bond, who in his day job is an airline pilot flying for KLM Cityhopper. His aircraft represents the Dr1 flown by Ludwig Beckmann in Jasta 6. Ludwig scored eight victories in 1918 and went on to serve in the Luftwaffe in the Second World War. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross.

The Great War Display Team’s replica Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c is co-owned by Steve Slater and Matthew Boddington. Matthew has a lifelong involvement in aviation, having had his first flight in an aeroplane at the tender age of one, on his father’s lap, in an Auster aircraft.

At the outbreak of the First World War, the BE2 was the mainstay of the Royal Flying Corps. This replica BE2 was commissioned in 1969 by the makers of the film Biggles Sweeps the Skies . Designed by film model specialist David Boddington, it was built and flown in just 16 weeks by vintage aircraft specialist Charles Boddington at Sywell, Northamptonshire.

The aircraft was flown, crashed and was then stored in the USA for 25 years, after which it was restored to flight by co-owners Matthew Boddington, son of the original builder, and Steve Slater, back at Sywell.

The Great War Display Team will fly two replica Junkers CL1 aircraft at The Duxford Air Show. The Junkers CL1 was a ground-attack aircraft, based on the Junkers J8 but with an extended fuselage to accommodate a gunner. It first flew in late 1917 and was accepted by Idflieg, which oversaw all German military aviation, but only 47 were built by the time of the Armistice.

Both of the replica aircraft are modified Bowers Fly-Babys, remodelled to look like typical CL1s. The first was originally built in 1988 by John Day and flew with the Great War Display Team in its modified form in 2003. It is now owned by Andrew Berry. The second CL1 was also modified by John Day and first flew with the Team in 2009. It is now owned and flown by Richard Piper, who has extensive experience of flying classic aircraft, performing aerobatics and gliding.

The Great War Display Team’s Sopwith Triplane is a replica of N500, the first Triplane prototype. It first flew in 1916, by-passing the normal test flight procedure and going straight to France to be test flown in service with A Flight, No.1 Squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service, where it is reputed to have been sent in pursuit of an enemy aircraft within 15 minutes of arriving.

By early 1917, two Royal Naval Air Squadrons, No.8 and No.10, had been equipped with Triplanes. They were very popular with pilots, as they were able to out-climb and out-turn any contemporary enemy scout aircraft.

Only 150 triplanes were built and they were only used by the Royal Naval Air Squadron, with the exception of a few which were given to the French and one which was given to the Russians. Their service life was short and by late summer 1917, they started to be replaced by Sopwith Camels.

Although it was later painted in both green and brown dope, N500 first went to France in clear-lined dope linen and it is this stage of its life that the Great War Display Team’s replica Sopwith Triplane represents. It was built over a three year period by Ernie Hoblyn and first flew in 1997. It is currently owned and flown by Gordon Brander, who flew professionally with British Airways for 32 years. On retirement from British Airways, he had flown over 15,000 hours.

Two replica Royal Aircraft Factory SE5 aircraft complete the Great War Display Team at The Duxford Air Show. The SE5 owned and flown by Dave Linney was built in 1978. It represents Zulu of 85 Squadron, which was led by flying aces Billy Bishop and Mick Mannock in 1918.

Dave Linney flew Harriers with the Royal Air Force, retiring with the rank of Squadron Leader and as the recipient of the Air Force Cross.

The second replica SE5, owned by Vic Lockwood, represents Blue 19 of the American 25th Aero Squadron, the only United States Air Squadron using SE5a aircraft during the First World War. Based at Toul, only two patrols were flown by this squadron before the Armistice. The aircraft was built in America, later went to Holland and has been owned and operated by Vic since 2005.

Vic Lockwood has worked within military and civil aviation for more than 47 years. He served with the RAF as a fighter pilot and carried out military test flying duties in the UK and the USA. On leaving the RAF, he joined Flight Refuelling Aviation (Cobham) where he spent 20 years as the company’s Chief Test Pilot. He has flown iconic aircraft such as the Spitfire, Mustang and Harvard.

See The Great War Display Team take to the skies at The Duxford Air Show on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September.

Air show tickets can be purchased online at iwm.org.uk

The recommended last booking date for overseas postal delivery is Friday 29 August. The off-sale date (and last date for UK postal delivery) is Tuesday 2 September.

Purchase your tickets in advance and receive one free child ticket with every adult ticket purchased. You’ll also enjoy 10% off ‘on the day’ ticket prices.

Advance ticket prices:

Adult (16 or over) £24.75
Child (5 to 15 years) £16.30
Disabled £16.30

Photographs courtesy of IWM.

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