Airfield celebrates its rich history

A SPECTACULAR airborne display proved the highlight of a special event to celebrate an airfield's history.Boxted Airfield Historical Society hosted two days of thrilling flying displays at the weekend, featuring classic aircraft.

A SPECTACULAR airborne display proved the highlight of a special event to celebrate an airfield's history.

Boxted Airfield Historical Society hosted two days of thrilling flying displays at the weekend, featuring classic aircraft.

The event, which took place in the village of Langham, was held to reunite veterans from the Second World War as it commemorated the 60th anniversary of the RAF at Boxted.

One special guest was an 85-year-old American flying ace who flew Mustang fighter planes out of the base between 1943 and 1944.


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Clayton Kelly Gross had travelled from Vancouver, Washington, to attend the event and was treated to a fantastic display of agility from a P-51 Mustang as it looped its way around the airfield, enthralling the hundreds of spectators.

The former pilot, who has written a book, Live Bait, about his wartime experiences, said that he had fond memories of spending time at the base, especially making night-time forays into Colchester to go dancing with the ladies.

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He said: “This is only my third time back to Boxted in more than 60 years. We had fun here, there was a great Red Cross club in Colchester and we used to have dances with the young ladies.

“Of course I was married already, so I only had a few dances, but I remember those days very well and I love to see the place again.”

A wide range of aircraft, from microlites to fighter planes, were on show, and displays from formation teams and aerobatic champion Denny Dobson gave spectators plenty to enjoy.

Other aircraft winging in for the weekend included a team of Chipmunks, the Red Sparrows, a Spitfire, a Stearman and a Harvard.

Saturday evening saw a big band 1940s-themed dance in the marquee, where the wartime spirit was celebrated in style.

Visitors were able to take a guided tour of the airfield, where many original buildings still stand, or buy souvenirs and chat to veteran airmen.

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