I'm probably the last blogger to say it, but hope everyone had a fabulous Diamond Jubilee weekend, however you celebrated and wherever you are in the world. One of my quiet highlights of the festivities was the flypast on the last day. I was actually working that day but my few colleagues and I who were in the office all climbed up to the fifth-storey roof terrace at 3.30 to see if we could spot the planes flying over on their way to Buckingham Palace. As it turns out, we were directly under the flight path so got to watch as the Dakota and two King Air aircraft flew over, followed by the Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfires rumbling over, and then the Red Arrows whizzing over, letting out their coloured trails just after passing us. It was pretty special! Like our own private airshow.
Seeing (and hearing!) the Lancaster is always pretty special for me and makes me a bit emotional because my wonderful grandparents met when my grandfather was flying Lancasters in World War II.
|My grandfather with his fellow pilots in front of a Lancaster|
My grandmother enlisted in the WAAF and began as a Telephone Operator in Balloon Command, the unit responsible for controlling barrage balloons. She then trained as a Radio Telephone Operator and moved to Bomber Command, instructing the men up in the planes. Christened Edith, she was a Birmingham girl who trained herself to speak properly and earned the nickname Vicky, as she spoke as well as Queen Victoria.
|My beautiful grandmother after the war|
My grandfather, Ken, also enlisted when the war began. He began training as a pilot in Australia and then completed his training here in England. He was posted to Bomber Command in the RAF, based at Lichfield. He rose to the dignified position of Squadron Leader and bravely flew out on countless operations, from which thousands of men never returned.
|My handsome grandfather in uniform|
Apparently, the two met after my grandfather heard my grandmother's voice over the radio and, rather taken by it, sought her out when his plane was back on English soil. They began dating but had to keep their romance under wraps as there would have been trouble if they were found to be fraternising.
However, they stayed together and, once the war was over, they were married. The rest, as they say, is history, with children and grandchildren, and incredibly full and generous lives which still carry on today, into their nineties. I'm very blessed to be related to such a wonderful, beautiful pair, and to still have them in my life.
|The lovely couple|