A WORLD War Two Hurricane fighter flypast planned over Wellington on Sunday (June 25) has been cancelled.

Wellington Town Council made the announcement this afternoon (Friday), saying the flypast is cancelled due to a technical issue, The council added that while it was "sad" it was not now going ahead, "safety must come first".

Operated by the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, it is one of several wartime aircraft flown as a living memorial to RAF service personnel killed between 1939 and 1945.

The Hurricane had been due to perform a flypast over Wellington Park at about 1.15 pm after appearing at the National Armed Forces Day event in Falmouth, Cornwall.

It was expected to perform a circuit over the north of the town before continuing its journey home to RAF Coningsby, in Lincolnshire.

Hawker Hurricanes of 302 and 316 Squadrons – both ‘Free Polish’ squadrons – were the first RAF aircraft to be resident at the then newly-constructed Churchstanton Airfield, on the Blackdown Hills, when they arrived in August, 1941.

Hurricane LF363
Hurricane LF363 (Darren Harbar)

But tragedy struck that same month when Sgt Eugeniusz Kropiwnicki was killed when his Hurricane crashed near to the site of the former Merry Harriers public house.

He was aged 22 years, and is buried in Taunton Cemetery.

While at RAF Churchstanton, later renamed Culmhead, the Poles flew convoy protection patrols over the Bristol Channel as part of the air defence for the South West.

Local military historian Chris Penney has a family link to the Hurricane through his great uncle, who served as RAF ground crew during the war.

Mr Penney said: “This fighter holds a particular significance as he was part of a team who serviced and maintained Hurricanes, keeping them operational for the pilots of 402 (French Canadian) Squadron resident at Warmwell, Dorset.

“The Royal Canadian Air Force squadron began training to become the first ‘Hurribomber’ unit in 1941.

“Their Hurricanes carried pairs of 250 lb bombs beneath the wings for a new attack role which commenced that November.

The aircraft will be in transit between Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, Cornwall, and its home base of RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
The aircraft's home base is RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. (Darren Harbar)

“In 1943 he was transported by troopship to Bombay, India, and then overland to RAF Allahabad, where he and colleagues continued supporting Hurricanes flying with South East Asia Command (SEAC).

“SEAC Hurricanes flew vital missions during the 1944 Battle of Kohima on the Indian border, where three antecedent regiments of The Rifles fought in some of the toughest combat conditions of the entire war.”

Friends of Wellington Park will be hosting their usual summer entertainment from 2.30pm.

Armed Forces celebrations in the county, which started in Wellington on June 17, conclude with Somerset Armed Forces Day, in Taunton, on July 1.