When thousands gathered for Great Warbirds airshow in West Malling
, 2023-03-21 05:00:00,
They don’t do nostalgia like they used to.
Back in the 80s and early 90s thousands gathered at West Malling airfield every year, to be rendered misty eyed by wartime music as the skies above reverberated with the thunder of vintage bombers and fighter planes.
Or if you lived nearby, you could just sit in your garden and watch the planes for free.
But for devotees of the old Great Warbirds show, there’s never been anything like it since, and with the old Second World War airfield now developed into Kings Hill housing estate, there never really will.
Which means the festival of nostalgia has now become the object of nostalgia itself, not least for organiser Elly Sallingboe, who put a decade of her life into the show.
And yet for Elly and those who helped her, the origins of the Great Warbirds is also marred by tragedy.
Inspired by the airshows in the US, the West Malling show had been the brainchild of Elly and her partner Ted White – who had brought a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress to the UK in March 1975, and named it Sally B after his partner.
Together they formed the Sally B Supporters Club to keep the US bomber maintained and running, and things gathered momentum as Sally B found a TV role in London Weekend Television’s (LWT) We’ll Meet Again, filmed at…
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