Tuesday, June 29, 2010
2010 Halifax International Fleet Review
"Halifax will be the gateway to the world as Canada’s Navy hosts an International Fleet Review as part of its Centennial celebrations. As warships from various nations arrive, they will have on board more than 5,000 sailors who have come to enjoy our maritime hospitality. Halifax will definitely be the 'place to be' in the summer of 2010."
Well, this week, Halifax is the place to be for the Vintage Wings Corsair and her crew. As part of this high profile event, our Hampton Gray Corsair, Gray Ghost One, was invited to participate in the Fleet Review taking place today along with the CF Snowbirds and CF-18. The reviewing officer is none other than Queen Elizabeth who arrived in a rather cold wet Halifax yesterday.
Sadly, the weather has not played in our favour and the Corsair is unable to conduct the flypast in the poor weather conditions that continue to prevail over the harbour.
It has not been all doom and gloom for the crew, however. On Sunday, 27 June, Vintage Wings were treated as VIPs aboard HMS Ark Royal to meet Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope and his crew.
While on board, the Public Affairs Officer toured Mike Potter, Rob Fleck and Paul Kissmann through the Officer's Mess to see a collection of memorabilia that is very significant in the history of the Ark Royal. Framed on the wall was the original transcript signed by the then Admiral of the Fleet congratulating the entire Royal Navy including the squadrons of Swordfish for the successful demise of the Bismark. Next to that is a framed photo of John Moffat taken during his visit aboard the Ark Royal to share his experience as a Swordfish pilot during the battle that eventually led to the sinking of the German battleship.
The moment was humbling and gave Vintage Wings a chance to share details about our Swordfish and the role she will play in commemorating great Canadian aviators who flew with the Royal Navy during WWII.
This tour was indeed surreal and rare. Thankfully the entire evening affair, has been recorded in photos by Peter Handley (to be posted).
To learn more about the history of HMS Ark Royal and the role of our navy aviators, visit http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/operations-and-support/surface-fleet/aircraft-carriers/hms-ark-royal/