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D-Day Anniversary in Lymington - New Forest hero flies again

Jack Brindley flies again at 90

Jack Brindley Lymington

At 90, one of The Wilverley Association’s Forest Oaks residents, Jack Brindley never thought he would get the chance to fly a light aircraft again. How wrong he was! Serving as a pilot during World War II, Jack and 160 other air veterans have been invited to join Project Propeller (www.projectpropeller.co.uk) later this month.

This annual reunion for WWII aircrew not only commemorates the 70th anniversary of D-Day but also the personal efforts and sacrifices made by airborne veterans who served their country during the war. It gives them a chance to fly again, some for the first time in 70 years, alongside veterans from all over the UK, in light aircraft with current volunteer pilots. Jack will be met at Bournemouth Airport and will board the most salubrious of all the aircraft in the volunteer fleet, the Beech King Air and fly to Gloucester Airport where he will join his comrades (friends and former foes!) to enjoy lunch, live wartime music and the facilities of the venue.

A spokesman from ‘Project Propeller’ said ‘it’s very important that we remember those who were lost and commemorate veterans who gave so much, sadly they’re rapidly disappearing, but it’s important their sacrifices and bravery is not forgotten.’

Although trained as a pilot in Canada, Jack joined the Royal Air Force 89 squadron in 1943 at 19 years of age. Jack remembers being trained to fly a single control Bristol Beaufort by someone sitting directly behind him shouting instructions, and later he went on to fly Bristol Beaufighter night fighters. One particular time Jack remembers was when British Intelligence uncovered a plot by the enemy to bomb Calcutta on Christmas Eve 1942, Jack’s Squadron were moved to Bengal and arrived only a few days before, just in time to send 3 aircraft and 4 crews to defend Calcutta.

After the war, Jack was posted to Flying School and played an integral part in training many refugee pilots from the war to re-establish their foreign airforces, after the ravages of war had destroyed their own. Instructing Czech, Dutch and French pilots how to fly de Havilland Mosquitos, Jack and his team enabled them to return home with a strong airforce once again.

It seems only fitting therefore that these brave veterans get the chance to take to the skies again.

A spokesman for The Wilverley Association’s Forest Oaks, where Jack now lives said ‘he’s been looking forward to this trip for weeks, flying was his life and to get the chance to take to the skies again is thrilling’.

The Wilverley Association has two lovely residential care homes set in the beautiful, tranquil surroundings of the New Forest. Whilst care is obviously central to what they do, organised activities are at the heart of care, so they encourage hobbies, exercise and most importantly fun. That’s why the team at Forest Oaks are so excited that at the grand age of 90, Jack gets to fly again for the first time in years, thanks to ‘Project Propeller’.

“Project Propeller’s marvellous” said Jack, “I can’t wait to get behind the controls of the plane again!”

 

By Victoria Ward for lymington.com

4 June 2014

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