From the Red Arrows to the iconic Spitfire

The Red Arrows, the contribution made by Polish aircrew in the Battle of Britain and the men who flew the iconic Spitfire will all feature in this season’s series of talks at the Battle of Britain Memorial.

The Wing visitor centre at the Capel-le-Ferne, Folkestone, site has earned an impressive reputation for fascinating Sunday afternoon presentations over the past few years, and 2022 looks set to be no exception.

Tickets for the first of this year’s events, a talk by former Red Arrow Mike Ling MBE on Sunday 13 February, are already selling fast. The presentation is entitled Up and Downs – 10 Years as a Red Arrows Pilot and will include fascinating anecdotes covering his time as the longest-serving pilot with the world-famous aerobatic team and his new roles with the Blades Aerobatic Team and piloting the Grace Spitfire.

Born in 1979 in Biggin Hill, famously home to a Battle of Britain airfield, Mike achieved his childhood dream when he was selected to join the Red Arrows for the 2008 display season as Red 3 before becoming Red 7 in the prestigious synchro pair for 2009.

In March 2010, while leading the synchro pair, he survived a head-on mid-air training collision at a closing speed of over 750 mph and needed major surgery and months of rehabilitation before getting back in the air.

Mike rejoined the Red Arrows as team supervisor Red 10 in 2011, was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in 2017 and left the RAF in 2019 as a Squadron Leader.

The series of talks being presented by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust will continue with a talk by Richard Kornicki CBE DL entitled For Your Freedom and Ours – The Polish Air Force in the West on Sunday 27 February.

Richard is the son of the late Gen. Bryg. Franciszek Kornicki, who was the last surviving Polish Squadron commander when he died aged 100 in 2017. He flew in the defence of Poland in 1939, then in France and finally in Britain, where he commanded 317 (City of Wilno) Squadron.

As Chairman of the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee, Richard works closely with senior members of the RAF and the Polish Air Force to maintain the memory of the Polish Air Force and its achievements during the second world war.

The talks will continue with a presentation by Richard Chambers from the Mission Aviation Fellowship on Sunday 13 March and a talk by aviation historian Andy Saunders on Sunday 3 April. Later that month, on Sunday 24 April, Nick Oram will round off the spring series of talks with Spitfire Pilots: Legends of the Air, based on his new book of that name.

All the talks start at 2.30pm and last for approximately one hour. Tickets are £12, although members of the Trust’s Friends of the Few organisation enjoy free or reduced admission prices. For bookings phone 01303 249292 or email