It was all eyes skyward on the afternoon of the 3rd September when the spectacular Red Arrows returned to Plymouth, Devon for the first time in eight years. Plymouth Sound resounded to the sound of jets overhead as they released coloured smoke to dramatic effect.
The world-famous pilots appeared as part of the Plymouth Airshow, which returned after an absence of four years. This year the event was held on the 20th anniversary of the RAF, Commonwealth and Allied Monument, and the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War.
The event is was dedicated to the men and women who died or were injured during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ray McSweeney, who put together the airshow programme, said the event on the Hoe featured static shows, stalls and ceremonies, as well as spectacular airborne entertainment.
The static shows and stalls opened at 1.30pm. At 2pm a wreath was dropped into the waters of Plymouth Sound in memory of all who served during the Second World War. At 3.30pm a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was scheduled to give a display followed by displays by various other aircraft. This plan was modified and the Spitfire was not in evidence
The Red Arrows returned to Plymouth City at 4.45pm. They formed a tight 9 formation in the sky for the 20th anniversary of the monument. At 6pm, as part of the beat retreat, a wreath was laid at the foot of the RAF, Commonwealth and Allied Monument as a salute to all those who are serving throughout the world today on Allied, NATO and UN duty.
A minute’s silence remembered all those who did not return from conflict. Children and citizens were invited to join the Lord Mayor and international guests in laying a flower on the monument.” A collection was held on the Hoe in aid of Help for Heroes and in support of Stonehouse Barracks-based 3 Commando Brigade. Organisers say that If this event is well supported, 2010 will see a return of the airshow and an international tattoo in support of the Armed Forces in Plymouth.