A 94-year-old World War 2 ex- Bomber Command pilot Edwin ‘Ted’ Watson flew from Durham Tees Valley Airport yesterday to reunite with his comrades at Coventry airport, to celebrate the 21st Project Propeller. Project
Propeller is an annual reunion for World War 2 aircrew.
Edwin joined 118 of his fellow WW2 aircrew to attend the event, which is the biggest reunion of its kind this year in Europe.
The veterans travelled from all over the country in light aircraft flown by volunteer civilian pilots who provided their time and aircraft at no cost.
Durham Tees Valley Airport, among others, opened its landing services to the aircrew free of charge for the day to honour these heroes for their bravery in the war.
Ted was awarded the French medal of Chevalier in the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur in 2016, and the book ‘Through The Gate’ written by Ken Ballantynes, shares his experiences during the war.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “With the 75th anniversary of D-Day, plus the service to commemorate the sacrifice of Canadian airman Andrew Mynarski taking place just days ago, the huge debt we owe the
selfless World War 2 heroes such as Ted is on all our minds at the moment.
“I’m delighted that our airport could play some small part in the Project Propeller celebrations by offering free landing services. This is another example of how we, running the airport of the people by the people, can help our local residents and communities. I hope it raised a smile and he and his comrades had a great day.”
Event organiser, Graham Cowie from Elkington, Northants, said: “What these men did should never be forgotten and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude. It’s an honour and a privilege to have them as our guests and to thank them in this way for all that they achieved in the dark days of World War 2.
When I see a veteran’s face light up as a Lancaster or a Spitfire or a Hurricane, that we have arranged for them, roars overhead in salute, it makes all our efforts worthwhile.”