Spitfire pilot dies in crash just weeks before King's birthday flypast over London

-Credit: (Image: Corporal Ben Tritta)
-Credit: (Image: Corporal Ben Tritta)


A Spitfire pilot has died in a crash just three weeks before an RAF flypast over London involving the World War 2 aircraft. At about 1.20pm on Saturday (May 25) emergency services rushed to a field next to Langrick Road in Lincolnshire, close to RAF Coningsby.

The Spitfire is part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) which is due to take part in the RAF flypast for the King's birthday which will soar over London on Saturday, June 15. It's unclear whether the pilot who died was due to be involved in the June 15 flypast as the BBMF has six Spitfires in total and not all of them typically take part in the same events.

The BBMF is also in training for several D-Day commemorative events and airshows as June 6, 2024 marks exactly 80 years since the Normandy Landings, which led to the liberation of Europe from the Nazis and the eventual end of the Second World War.

READ MORE: Red Arrows flypast for King's birthday as Spitfires and Lancaster bombers join iconic jets over London

Prince William, then the Duke of Cambridge, sits in the cockpit of a newly restored Supermarine Spitfire Mark I aircraft (N3200) donated to the Imperial War Museum by American entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Kaplan during a visit to IWM Duxford on July 9, 2015
Prince William, then the Duke of Cambridge, sits in the cockpit of a newly restored Supermarine Spitfire Mark I aircraft (N3200) donated to the Imperial War Museum by American entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Kaplan during a visit to IWM Duxford on July 9, 2015 -Credit:Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said on Saturday: "It is with great sadness that we must confirm the death of an RAF pilot in a tragic accident near RAF Coningsby today. The pilot's family have been informed and we ask that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."

Lincolnshire Police said only the pilot was involved in the crash. An investigation, including by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, will take place in due course.

Prince William and Kate Middleton said on their Kensington Palace X account: "Incredibly sad to hear of the news this afternoon from RAF Coningsby. Our thoughts this evening are with the pilot's loved ones, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and the wider RAF family. W and C."

William was Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Coningsby from 2008 to August 2023, when he handed the role over to Kate. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a post on X: "Awful news to see the life of a serving RAF pilot cut short in this tragic event. My thoughts are with their family and loved ones."

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader, added: "Deeply saddened by news from Lincolnshire. Thank you to the emergency services for their response. My thoughts are with the pilot's family at this awful time."

RAF Coningsby is also home to two combat-ready RAF squadrons and is where Typhoon fighter jet pilots are trained. There is no suggestion at this stage that the RAF flypast on June 15, which will follow Trooping the Colour, is at risk of being cancelled after the crash.

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