Old Somerset campaigner to lead Fleet Air Arm’s flypast at Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant
He will lead the Fleet Air Arm’s dramatic finale flypast at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant flying a legendary Swordfish biplane – then fly home to give his village jubilee fête a show to remember.
And yesterday Lieutenant Commander Glenn Allison was among the Naval airmen taking part in the final dress rehearsal for the Thames spectacle.
Villagers living around Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton were treated to a sneak preview of the ‘Diamond Nine’ formation which will thrill millions watching the celebrations live and on television screens around the world.
Behind the Swordfish the nine helicopters forming the Diamond will be three Royal Navy Merlins, four Royal Navy Lynx and two Sea Kings.
Their flight will conclude the grandest event ever staged on the River Thames. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will sail in the Royal Barge leading a flotilla of 1,000 boats sailing from Battersea Bridge to London Bridge.
The Naval Fly Past will take place just after 5.20pm on Sunday when the royal couple have disembarked near Tower Bridge to watch the flotilla sail past.
The Swordfish, which is part of the Yeovilton-based Royal Navy Historic Flight, is the only one of its kind still flying. Swordfish played a vital role in the Second World War, despite being: “old technology”, crippling the Italian Fleet at the Battle of Taranto and taking part in the chase of the Bismark and the Channel Dash.
Leading the helicopter formation will be a Merlin Mk1 of 824 Naval Air Squadron, based at RNAS Culdrose, and flown by Lieutenant Commander David Thomas.
Lieutenant Commander Allison, Commanding Officer of 727 Naval Air Squadron, based at Yeovilton, will fly back to Somerset and over villages near the airfield, including his own village of Kingsdon to add an extra sparkle to its Jubilee celebrations at around 6.50pm. He said, “It’s an enormous privilege to be flying in the Swordfish for Her Majesty. To represent the Fleet Air Arm in such a legendry symbol is a great privilege”
Yeovilton will be represented strongly in the display. The three Lynx Mk 8 helicopters come from Yeovilton-based 815 Naval Air Squadron. The squadron is embarked on ships around the world and is most frequently used in the counter-piracy, drugs and terrorism roles. It is also highly valuable in providing disaster relief.
Lieutenant Commander Toby Clay, flying one of the aircraft yesterday was instrumental in offering disaster relief in the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami when his flight was embarked in HMS Chatham in the Indian Ocean.
The green and grey Lynx displaying yesterday is from Yeovilton’s 847 squadron, part of the Commando Helicopter Force. A green Sea King Mk 4, was from Yeovilton-based 848 squadron, one of the ‘Jungly’ Command helicopters squadrons, which transport and insert Royal Marines and other forces in amphibious and land assaults, and which have played a vital role in the Afghan War.