Red Arrows put on spectacular display to kickstart Battle of Britain Airshow at Headcorn

Watch: The Red Arrows pull out all the stops at the start of this year's Battle of Britain Airshow

The Battle of Britain Airshow at Headcorn Aerodrome got off to a dramatic start on Friday (24 June) with a Red Arrows flypast.

The three-day show is being staged where the critical battle between the Royal Air Force and Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe, took place in 1940.

Thousands lined the runway to crane their necks for a good view of the display.

After the Red Arrows it was time to wind back the clock, with the iconic spitfires and hurricanes on show.

Former RAF Pilot Flt Lt Bertie Hacker was at the event, seeing some of the aircraft take to the skies he once flew.

The 99-year-old, described by many as a hero said, "For those colleagues who passed on, I'd like them to be here.

Asked how he feels about the hurricanes and spitfires still flying, the veteran said, "That's through dedicated people who do a good job. It puts the people [flying them] back in time without them having been there.

When asked whether he preferred being on the ground, or up in the air, Mr Hacker said: "I much prefer being up there.

"There's more space, the air is cleaner, you're on your own, and you can sort of feel that there's another world. One that walks on the ground, and the other that is free to fly.

"It was all worthwhile.

"Like everyone else, we all did our bit."

Across the weekend visitors can enjoy displays such as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire, Strikemaster Display Team, ME109 & Spitfire Dog Fight, and Bi-Plane Balbo (Stampe/Tiger Moths/Jungman).

Event Director Chris Yates said: "To see that many spitfires and hurricanes all in the same place at the same time - to see Dakotas and Lancaster bombers - they just don't fly around Kent that much anymore.'

The event also gave veterans the chance to reconnect with Armed Forces colleagues with the help of local Royal British Legion branches.

  • Wing Commander Shaun Ryles is the new chairman of the Ashford branch that has reopened after two years.

He told ITV News Meridian: "We must never forget - that's the key.

"We have Remembrance, which everyone respects amazingly, but there are other times during the year when there's an opportunity for us to share the history and bring it through to the younger generation who might otherwise not pick up on it."