D-Day flypast takes to the skies over Suffolk and Essex
PUBLISHED: 14:48 05 June 2019 | UPDATED: 20:39 05 June 2019
DAKS OVER NORMANDY
A D-Day flypast of more than 30 wartime planes took to the skies over Suffolk and Essex.
The flight of 34 veteran DC-3 Dakota and C-47 Skymaster transport planes, complete with fighter escort, set off from Duxford airfield in Cambridge today to recreate the parachute drops that launched the Normandy landings in 1944 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-day.
The planes flew over Haverhill, Clare and Sudbury then to Colchester before setting course for the original British paratrooper drop zone in Normandy.
Once there, 250 parachutists will jump from the planes.
The planes were due to take off from Duxford airfield at approximately 1.40pm to 2.05pm and make their way over Essex via Suffolk, flying over Colchester at 2.21pm and Southend by 2.29pm.
However a delay in take-off meant the plans were held up by more than an hour.
Plane spotters gathered at locations across the two counties in preparation for the display.
Nearly 100 people gathered on the bridge over the A12 at Colchester United FC to watch the fly-past, including friends David Allen and Trevor Warren, both aged 60 and from Colchester.
David said: "I love old aircraft, as a bloke I grew up on these sorts of planes, so I couldn't miss the chance of seeing this.
"The Dakota was such an important aircraft, it's what the paratroopers jumped out of and what flew the supplies in, and it's still flying today"
Trevor added: "It's probably the only chance you'll get to see so many Dakotas flying together. I'm a fan and went to see them at Duxford yesterday."
Mother and son Katy Bird and Ben Forrest, from Colchester, both said it was important to make an effort to see the fly past.
Medical student Ben said: "These were the planes that flew everyone in to France. They are a part of our past."
Katy said: "When you think about it it really is amazing what was achieved that day.
"I only live around the corner from here so I didn't want to miss this."
The aircraft flew to Le Havre in France and then on to the historic UK Drop Zone at Sannerville.
The fleet was assembled from privately-owned planes from all over the world, including Australia, Canada and the United States.
It assembled at Duxford for a two-day exhibition on June 4 and 5 before setting off, and there will be a similar exhibition from June 5-9 at Caen Carpiquet Airport in France.