During the first two weeks of June, starting Friday 2nd, a team of Wounded, Injured and Sick (WIS) servicemen, women and veterans from Flying For Freedom will fly from Wiltshire across the Channel to visit the WW1 battlefields of Northern France and Belgium. During their two week expedition, the team will visit the battlefields of WW1 and then proceed to fly along the exact route of the front line from the Channel to Switzerland in a number of flexwing microlights, 100 years on from the battles that took place there during WW1.
With us here at Old Sarum celebrating our own centenary this year, we are delighted that they have decided to start their journey with us. They will be arriving with us on Thursday afternoon, ready for a small press event on the Friday morning in preparation for their departure on Saturday morning. Leaving us early on the morning of Saturday 3rd June, they will start by making their way to their first stop in St Omer, Northern France. St Omer was the main depot airfield for the Royal Flying Corps during WW1, so it seems fitting that they leave from Old Sarum, a former RFC base when it was established in 1917.
Flying For Freedom offers flight training to WIS servicemen, women and veterans as part of their recovery, with an aim to establish that nothing is unachievable – “inspire, enable, support”. This moto is embodied by Sgt Alan Robinson, a serving RAF Technician and the leader of the team on this journey. After losing his leg in a motorbike accident, Alan has had to overcome many physical challenges to become a qualified pilot and last year was the first amputee since WW2 to fly solo in a Spitfire. The program is partnered with Help for Heroes and the expedition is supported by the Endeavour Fund of the Royal Foundation, founded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
We wish the team all the best for their journey over the next couple of weeks and look forward to waving them off on Saturday morning – please do come and join us to cheer them on! You can follow their progress through their website and on their youtube channel, as well as through their twitter and facebook pages.