Belfast Telegraph

Spitfires flying high over Northern Ireland in tribute to squadron's anniversary

By Staff Reporter

Pilots have paid an aerial tribute to their former base in Co Antrim as they celebrated 72 (Reserve) Squadron's 100th anniversary.

Two Shorts Tucano T Mark 1 planes - one painted in a specially designed Spitfire livery to commemorate the Battle of Britain - took to the skies over Aldergrove to mark the occasion.

The Tucano has the registration RN-S 'Enniskillen' in recognition of the original plane which bore the name during the Second World War and to honour the squadron's more recent operational history in Northern Ireland.

Enniskillen was one of 17 Spitfires bought with funds raised by the Belfast Telegraph Spitfire Appeal in 1940-41. A detachment of 72 Squadron helicopters were based at RAF Aldergrove from 1969. In 1983, the Westland Wessex helicopters took part in the rescue of the crew of HMS Vigilant and of 108 passengers and 20 crew from the stranded Larne-Stranraer car ferry, the Antrim Princess.

In 1981, 72 Squadron moved to RAF Aldergrove on a permanent basis and remained there until 2002.

It is now based at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire.

Belfast Telegraph

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