Billed as the ‘Amy Johnson Memorial Airshow Herne Bay’, the show was held to raise awareness and funds for a memorial project which will see two full size bronze statues of Amy Johnson cast for display in her birthplace, Hull, and on the seafront at Herne Bay. Amy Johnson’s Airspeed Oxford crashed into the sea off Herne Bay in 1943. Johnson baled out of the aircraft after it ran out of fuel in bad weather. She was spotted in the water but a rescue attempt failed and she and her rescuer sadly drowned. Her body was never recovered.

A beautiful warm sunny day saw an estimated 70,000 people on the sea front enjoying barbeques, Pimms, and picnics. The show started with the Red Arrows who delighted the crowds with a full display. Next to display was an ex Sultan of Oman Strikemaster, followed by Tracy Curtis-Taylor in her Boeing Stearman which she plans to fly to Australia to recreate Amy Johnson’s record breaking flight of 1930. Next to display was the incredible sight of nine World War 1 aircraft duelling in the sky. One of the aircraft, a Fokker Triplane, was flown by rock band Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickenson.

A superb aerobatic display by Lauren Richardson in her Pitts S1 followed. All eyes turned south towards Reculver Towers as a trail of smoke heralded the arrival of the Vulcan which demonstrated the type’s remarkable agility. In 1943 this coast line was used by another Avro type, the Lancaster, during training for the Dams raid. A 29 Reserve Squadron Typhoon followed, then all eyes turned to Reculver Towers once again as a bright light appeared announcing the arrival of the Bronco. The Bronco was a late addition to the airshow and was well received by the crowd. The next two displays involved teams, first up was the Turbulent display team followed by the RV8tors. The show concluded with a BBMF Spitfire and Hurricane, the Hurricane in South East Asia Command colours which was appropriate as 15th August was the 70th Anniversary of VJ Day. This is the first time an airshow has been held at Herne Bay and the Organisers should be applauded for their efforts.

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