Leicestershire’s first post-war air display

During the last war Sir Lindsey Everard’s private airfield at Ratcliffe was taken over by the ATA & became Number 6 Ferry Pool. The ATA aircrew that were based there played a vital part in ferrying newly built aircraft from the Midland factories to various Air force Units. The display was held in aid of the ATA Benevolent Fund and to mark their departure from Ratcliffe. Admission was Adults 2/6 (12.5P) Children 1/- (5P) Car Park Free. My own record shows that there were at least thirty one different types of aircraft present, many with prototype markings. Of the thirty one types at least nine gave flying displays, in my list I have marked those that gave flying displays by printing them in italics. Geoffrey De Havilland demonstrated the Vampire. I felt sure Alex Henshaw flew a Spitfire but talking to him in his home near Newmarket many years later he said that he had never demonstrated at Ratcliffe. I found this very strange because one of the hallmarks of his displays was to fly a Spitfire across a grass airfield inverted and with the fin and rudder almost brushing the grass and this was one of the features of the Spitfire display at Ratcliffe.

I listed the following aircraft as being present and those in bold italics gave flying displays.

Airspeed Oxford
Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle 
Avro Lancaster 
Blackburn Firebrand 
Boeing Flying Fortress
Curtiss Hellcat 
DH Dominie 
DH Sea Hornet 
DH Mosquito 
DH Vampire
Douglas Dakota
Fairchild Argus 
Fairy Barracuda 
Gloster Meteor 
Handley Page Halifax
Hawker Tempest 
Hawker Typhoon
Kirby Cadet Glider 
Miles Magister 
North American Harvard
North American Mitchell
North American Mustang
Percival Procter
Short Stirling
Stinson Reliant
Supermarine Sea Otter
Supermarine Spiteful
Supermarine Spitfire
Taylorcraft Plus Model
Vickers Warwick
Vickers Wellington

This unique collection of aircraft include some now extinct and others have representatives of the type still flying. What may well be surprising on a quick check I think representatives of approximately 50% of the types listed are still flying sixty five years later!

Location of Ratcliffe Airfield: