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Harold Would Have Been Proud

Swindon pays tribute to its very own Battle of Britain hero and 'The Few' - WATCH VIDEO
 
WATCH ON DEMAND
(Our live broadcast from the day)
 
 
The roar of the Merlin was heard over Swindon today as part of a special Battle of Britain tribute.
 
Four Spitfires and two Hurricanes from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flew over the centre of Swindon town centre today - Battle of Britain Day - watched by hundreds who turned out to witness an event that will probably never be repeated.
 
The formation flew directly over the grave of Swindon's own Battle of Britain Hero, Sqn Ldr Harold Starr, at Radnor Street Cemetery to honour him and 'the Few'.
 
Many watched from Faringdon Park as the planes graced the skies of Swindon just after 3.00pm.
 
As part of a day of events, a First Great Western Intercity locomotive was also named after Sqd. Ldr. Starr by the Duke of Gloucester at Swindon station.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
SwindonWeb in association with Videoworks broadcast the entire event LIVE, which you can watch above.

Our hour and thirty minute broadcast also delves deeper into Swindon's connection to World War II, plus, of course, provided more detail about our very own dogfighting hero Harold Starr.
 
A week of events
 
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and Swindon Heritage in association with Paul R Gentleman Associates and Green Rook has organised a week of free events in September to commemorate those who fought in the skies and on the ground.

In particular, the events will remember Swindon's own Battle of Britain hero, Sdn Ldr Harold Starr, who was killed at the height of the conflict on August 31, 1940, and lies buried at Radnor Street Cemetery, in one of 103 Commonwealth War Graves.
 
Full Schedule
 
Civic Reception
STEAM Museum
Tuesday September 08, 12.30pm
 
On local hero Harold Starr's birthday, Battle of Britain week gets underway with a civic reception hosted by Swindon Heritage at Steam Museum to remember Harold and 'The Few'
 
Harold Starr - One Of The Few
Swindon Central Library
Tuesday September 08, 7.15pm
 
Graham Carter, editor of Swindon Heritage, tells the story of our own Battle of Britain hero, on what would have been his 101st birthday. This illustrated talk looks at the whole story, from Harold's (pic. right) early days in Swindon, until his tragic death over Kent in 1940, and includes rarely seen photographs, kindly loaned by members of the Starr family.
 
Flying A Spitfire
Swindon Central Library
Wednesday September 09, 7.15pm
 
A talk in which Phil O'Dell, a former RAF test pilot, now chief test pilot and head of flying with Rolls-Royce, explains what it's like to fly a Spitfire. Phill will also talk about the work of charity Fly2Help. There will also be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions at the end.
 
The Secrets of Spitfire
Swindon Central Library
Thursday September 10, 7.15pm
 
Swindon author Lance Cole is an expert on the design of the Spitfire, having written a groundbreaking book about the plane's iconic wings, called Secrets of the Spitfire, and a brand new book, Secret Wings of World War II. Drawing on illustrations from his extensive research, Lance who will be in conversation with local historian Mike Pringle, will answer questions from the audience, and sign copies of his books.
 
David Bent's Battle of Britain Collection/Swindon Schools Artworks
Radnor Street Cemetery Chapel
Friday September 11, 6pm

This event launches two small art exhibitions. Leading aviation artist David Bent, whose studio is in Old Town, displays a series of six artworks created as a mark of respect to wartime pilots, as previously exhibited at the RAF Museum and St Paul's Cathedral. Commemorative artworks designed for the cemetery chapel windows by children from five Swindon primary schools will also be on display.

Battle of Britain Vintage Day
Wharf Green, Swindon
Saturday September 12

The town centre will be taken back to the 1940s where shoppers will be entertained by the sounds of a swing band, and sample some lindy hop and swing dancing. For those wanting to have something more sedate and get close up to the iconic Spitfire and Hurricane, full size models of each will be at Wharf Green and outside Debenhams.

Family Day
Radnor Street Cemetery
Sunday September 13, 10.00am - 4.00pm

A free family day in the cemetery and chapel. There will be guided walks, free burial register look-ups, a war graves trail, displays, exhibitions, music, refreshments and more.

Flying A Lancaster Bomber
The Beehive
Monday September 14, 7.30pm

Squadron Leader Stuart Reid (Retd) will be talking with Andy Binks about what it's like to fly one of the most iconic bombers ever built. Stuart flew the Lancaster for the BBMF for over 11 years accompanying many state occasions including the Queen Mother's funeral. He also recreated the Dambusters training flight over the Derwentt dam to mark the 60th and 65th anniversaries of the raid.
 
 
 
 
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