Gatherings for WW2 veterans took last flight in Northamptonshire

“It was an excellent day in Sywell but there was an air of sadness that it was the very last”

Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 8:30 am
Eddie Habberley, left, and Maurice Marriott, right, were among the final veterans to take flight.
Eddie Habberley, left, and Maurice Marriott, right, were among the final veterans to take flight.

The final gathering organised for World War Two veteran fliers took place in Northamptonshire this summer.

Project Propeller, which was first set up in May 1999 to give fliers the opportunity to fly again, can no longer continue because of how few veterans are left.

The last flight took off from Sywell airfield on June 19.

Eddie says the final Project Propeller gathering in Sywell was an "excellent day".

Eddie Habberley, a former RAF fighter pilot who took flight at the final Project Propeller gathering, said: “It was an excellent day but there was an air of sadness that it was to be the very last time.

“The flight was rather bumpy due to strong winds and turbulence, but we safely reached our destination.”

The first gathering was in Essex, where more than 100 pilots who were willing to give their time and own expense to fly veterans to airfields to spend the day meeting old friends and sharing experiences.

Eddie said: “The first day was a great success and the project went from strength to strength each year that followed besides the Covid years, even regardless of bad weather.”

Unfortunately, the number of veterans has dropped to such a low level that the “enormous amount of organisation and expense is sadly not worth carrying on”.

Over the years, many aircrew have flown from Sywell and Turweston airfields in Northamptonshire.

Alongside Eddie, who flew on the final day from Sywell, was Maurice Marriott, an ex-RAF navigator.

Both of them are from the Duston & District Branch of the Royal British Legion, and operated in World War Two in the Far East.

The final day of Project Propeller was “very well attended”, with aircrafts from all over the country being able to fly.

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In the morning, Eddie and his pilot went up in a two seater ‘Taylorcraft’, high wing monoplane, and Maurice, two other passengers and the pilot flew in a four-seater ‘Robin’ plane.

Eddie was pleased to be allowed to climb into the cockpit of his plane.

The day also involved “meeting kindred spirits and reminiscing”, while admiring the aircraft.

Everyone was keen to hear each other’s stories for the final time.