A trip back in time
We arrive at around 9.30 and join the queue to gain entrance to the grounds, a strange welcoming emits from the buildings; drawing you in and making you feel safe. We park; unload what we need and head for the stalls and breakfast. Monuments on either side stand proudly; testaments to their legends, to one side are small aircraft, all lined up; each one shining clearly in the morning sun. It still astounds me each time I visit the amazing sense of time this place have, no matter what year it may be, it will never loose that wartime feeling; I must say Glen Miller does help matters. I look at the row of planes and this is what I see.
There are groups of planes on the ground, mechanics are working at their respective planes, the pilots are sitting by the huts; waiting, waiting for that siren, the siren that will once again take them up into the skies. Some are playing cards or reading, others writing that letter home, they have been meaning to do for a while, some are just sleeping. There is silence, accept that of the wind through the trees, or the sounds of footsteps of the airfield personnel. The phone rings, ears and eyes turn to the hut. “SCRAMBLE SCRAMBLE, SCRAMBLE” the captain shouts, the pilots run to their planes, the sound of silence is broken by the claxon screams and the roar of a squadron of Rolls Royce Merlin engines. Orders are being screamed from plane to plane; the hood goes down; and they’re off. The control tower becomes a hive of activity, information is passed from all corners of the airfield, the airspeed climbs as they leave the runway; in this moment both aircraft and pilot merge into one. It has always been said that flying a Spitfire was an easy job. After numerous bullets are used and dog fighting skills put to the test, the weary planes and pilots return back to the silence of RAF Duxford.
And then it’s gone and the modern day returns around me, the hustle and bustle of an airshow day. ‘Moonlight Serenade’ is playing over the speaker system; I know that 1940 can’t be too far away.