Simon leads fly-past in London for VJ Day

Lt Simon Wilson
Lt Simon Wilson

A Dromore man led a fly-past over London during the Victory over Japan (VJ) Day Commemorations on Saturday.

Lt Simon Wilson is helicopter pilot with the Fleet Air Arm and the lead Swordfish Pilot for the Royal Navy Heritage Flight.

The Swordfish plane Simon Wilson flew on Saturday.

The Swordfish plane Simon Wilson flew on Saturday.

Simon flew the Swordfish, a warplane from World War Two, to commemorate those who fought in the Pacific against Japan.

The display was watched by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family, who also took part in a memorial event at Horse Guards Parade.

Simon said: “I’m in a very unique and privileged position to fly the newest helicopters into service and the oldest aircraft that’s still in service.

“There are three Swordfish in total although only two are airworthy. The other airworthy one is undergoing some maintenance so this is the only flying Swordfish in the world right now.“

“It will be an immense privilege to get to fly over London on VJ Day”

He continued: “It’s also the only mark one Swordfish in existence so it is a particularly rare example. It’s the oldest serving aircraft in the Royal Navy inventory at the moment.”

Simon explained what it is like to fly the Swordfish.

He said: “She’s fairly straightforward to fly but because it’s an open cockpit, it’s quite noisy and there’s a lot of wind blast from both the propellor and the air flowing over the aircraft.

“From that point of view, it’s quite a brutal experience because you’ve effectively got hurricane force winds blowing in your face.”

Simon mentioned the honour he felt at being able to commemorate those who fought in the Pacific.

He said: “It will be an immense privilege to get to fly over London commemorating VJ Day and the veterans that took part in Pacific theatre from the Royal Navy and the Fleet Air Arm.

“When victory in Europe happened the war in the Pacific was still ongoing for a number of months afterwards and the personnel that served in that theatre of war felt that they were forgotten about

“So this is really an opportunity to address that by holding a VJ commemoration and remembering those sacrifices that British personnel made.”