Fly past for 500 on parade in Torquay
THE distinctive sound of Rolls Royce Merlin engines filled the skies over Torquay as a 500-strong parade through the town prepared to get under way.
The Hurricane and Spitfire aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight carried out several fly overs as a prelude to 530 air cadets of Devon and Somerset Wing Air Training Corps parading through the town with a special royal guest.
The Duke of Gloucester inspected the cadets and later took a salute from a garden in Beacon Hill where a memorial plaque marks a similar parade in front of King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth in 1942.
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That parade consisted of RAF airmen and the newly formed Air Training Corps.
The Duke and Lord Lieutenant of Devon, Mr Eric Dancer, and civic dignitaries attended a reception at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club where the Duke met original members of the parade and current members of staff from Devon and Somerset Wing ATC.
Among the ex-Torquay cadets present at the original parade were Edward Lee and Gordon Screech, now in their 80s.
They both joined the RAF from the Air Training Corps on reaching their 18th birthday.
Edward Lee joined the RAF as a wireless mechanic, then signaller and later to flying training.
He returned to Torquay in 1946 and became a stone mason.
Gordon Screech joined the RAF as a wireless operator serving in Italy and North Africa. He worked for the Herald Express for 50 years.
He said: "It brought back many memories, especially the sound of those engines. I didn't expect so many people to be in the parade.
"It was also an honour to be introduced to the Duke."