RAF News

RAF jets pay tribute to Donald Campbell CBE with Coniston Water flyover

Image shows a black and white photo of Donald Campbell.
Donald Campbell CBE was holder of eight world speed records in the 1950s and 1960s in the Bluebird cars and boats.

The Royal Air Force has marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Donald Campbell CBE with a flyover of Coniston Water as his family hold a service of remembrance.

A pair of RAF Hawks from, IV (AC) Squadron based at RAF Valley in Anglesey flew over the ceremony that took place on Coniston Water, near to where he died in his jet-powered Bluebird boat.

Image shows a photo from one of the Hawk aircraft as they flew over Coniston Water.

Members of the family gathered for a short service and flower laying on the jetty to mark his what would be his 100th birthday and to pay tribute to his achievements, they then retied to a service of remembrance at the Campbell Memorial at Coniston Cemetery where he is buried.

Image shows Donald Campbell's daughter on a dock after laying a bunch of flowers in the lake.
Donald Campbell's daughter Gina laid a bunch of flowers in the lake as part of the ceremony.

His daughter Gina who laid a bunch of flowers in the lake said: “I am touched by the RAF’s mark of respect and their act was a fitting tribute to my father who would have been thrilled by the gesture. I cannot thank the RAF and the crews who flew today enough for their thoughtful tribute, especially Flight Lieutenant Eddie Craig who led the flypast from, IV (AC) Squadron at RAF Valley.”

She added: “My father is buried in Coniston, but it is also his spiritual home and every year thousands of people visit the Ruskin Museum to learn more about his incredible journey through life, gaining speed records on both land and water.”

Image shows a black and white photo of the Bluebird boat.

Mr Campbell was holder of eight world speed records in the 1950s and 1960s in the Bluebird cars and boats.

On 4th January 1967, he attempted a water speed record in the Bluebird K7 at Coniston Water with the target of 300mph (480km/h). After numerous attempts the Bluebird boat reached a speed of 328mph (528km/h) but shortly afterwards it somersaulted, breaking in two and plunging into the water.

Image shows two RAF Hawk T2 aircraft flying over Coniston Water.

Shortly after his death, a Royal Air Force Vulcan from 12 (B) Squadron made an impromptu tribute, flying over Coniston Water and conducting a wing wave as a mark of respect.

“It is a huge honour to continue the RAF tradition of paying tribute to Donald Campbell and celebrate, not only his achievements, but also his spirit of courage and determination. Today, we flew two Hawk T2 aircraft from RAF Valley which are used to train the next generation of fighter pilots for the RAF and Royal Navy. Whilst conducting the flypast is a great spectacle for people on the ground, it also provides important low level training for our student pilots. Our top speed as we flew up Coniston Water was 480mph which we hope Donald would have approved of.”

Flight Lieutenant Eddie Craig
Qualified Flying Instructor, IV(AC) Squadron

Image shows Donald Campbell's daughter waving at the aircraft flying over Coniston Water.

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