All Spitfire enthuiasts will, I am sure, be interested in this photograph of a Mark F22 which I managed to take with a rather dilapidated camera some years ago at Salisbury Airport, Rhodesia (now regretably Harare, Zimbabwe).
It was one of only two surviving examples of this formidable aircraft still in existence (in Rhodesia, that is) from an original batch of F22s which were in service with the Royal Rhodesian Air Force just after the war (serially numbered SR58 – 68 and SR79 – 89).
Very sadly, this aircraft (SR 64) later broke-up some weeks later in a severe thunderstorm killing the pilot, Captain Jack Malloch, who can be seen here climbing into the cockpit just prior to his giving a stunning aerobatic display on this particular overcast Sunday morning to a few privileged and thrilled spectators – which by great good fortune included my wife, son and myself.
As all Spitfire “nuts” and fundis know and agree, the F 22 had almost ceased to be a Spitfire in anything more than name, but some traces of her elegant, aristocratic ancestry can still be traced if you look hard enough.
Certainly, though, it was a far cry from the classic Mark 1s and 2s which I used to watch with such excitement during the nerve-wracking days of the Battle of Britain which I wrote about in my poem “Vignettes of Childhood! (which, hint, hint, can be seen, oddly enough, under the heading Poetry!)
When you think about it, there is quite a lesson to be learnt from this – namely, that every age has faced its own particular disasters and tragedies in one way or another,
and yet the world has somehow survived! The end hasn’t come yet and isn’t likely to either, I don’t think, despite what the Mayan Calendar says (what on earth did they know about it anyway!)
As Dickens observed when writing about the French Revolution: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…in short, the period was so far like the present period that…”.
It’s a part of the human condition, I suppose, and as Dr Johnson once commented: “Just think how insignificant this will appear twelve months hence”! All of which is very true and comforting – if you still happen to be around by then!