Centenary Formation

To commemorate the centenary of the start of World War One, 208 squadron designed a paint scheme for  Hawk T1 XX350, which was scheduled for a re-paint after a major service. The aircraft was given her new colours by the Valley-based Babcock spray bay team, and the design splits the aircraft into old and new, with the current black training scheme for the front, and the green WW1 scheme to the rear. The design was based on the colour scheme used on the Bristol F2B Fighter which is housed at the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden Aerodrome in Bedfordshire. This aircraft saw active service with 208 Squadron in 1922 during the Chanak Crisis in Turkey.

Remarkably – and entirely due to the dedication of the Shuttleworth Collection team of engineers - this WWI aircraft is still airworthy and wears the markings of 208 Sqn. Due to it’s rarity and historic significance the Bristol Fighter is flown infrequently, but it’s modern day squadron counterparts from 208 Sqn were extremely fortunate to have been able to span a century of aviation history and fly their Hawks with the 100 year old fighter.

The current Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Nick Gatenby said: “It was a tremendous privilege to be given the chance to take 208 Sqn’s current aircraft, the Hawk T1 and formate it along side one of its first, an original WWI Bristol Fighter. The challenge of flying both these aircraft in close formation - that naturally operate at the opposite ends of each others performance envelope - was considerable. However, as a Sqn that formed during WWI, we felt that marking the Centenary of the Great War by combining these aircraft in a unique aerial shot would be one that would raise awareness of the enormous sacrifice made by so many, so long ago.”

Chair of Trustees at the Shuttleworth Collection, Tim Routsis said “As guardians of the Richard Shuttleworth legacy, we were honoured to be asked by 208 Squadron to participate in this unique operation. It was a special moment for those involved to see these two magnificent aircraft flying in formation over the airfield at Old Warden. Both organisations are guardians in their own right and we were very pleased to be able to join forces once again.”


Images have been provided by Darren Harbar Photography. Editors are to ensure credit please.