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Here's why a Spitfire was flying low above Newmarket

Spitfire flying above Newmarket. Picture: Philip Fuller (3452238)
Spitfire flying above Newmarket. Picture: Philip Fuller (3452238)

A Spitfire from Duxford's Imperial War Museum flew over Newmarket on Friday in tribute to a town man responsible for bringing the airfield back into use.

Bob Booth, who was 93, and lived in Trinity Drive, died at the end of May, 10 months after his wife Jill, who was 85. The couple's ashes were interred together at Newmarket Cemetery on Friday.

Bob's son, Andrew, explained both his parents had links to the famous Merlin engine which powered the Spitfires.

"During the war Dad was a rear gunner, a tail-end Charlie, in bombers which also had Merlin engines and mum grew up in Castle Bromwich in Birmingham, home of the largest aircraft production plant in the wartime Britain, where Spitfires were made. She spent many a night in Anderson shelters as the Germans tried to take the factory out."

Bob Booth (3452249)
Bob Booth (3452249)

After the war Bob worked for the Ministry of Defence and after working overseas, he was tasked with turning Duxford into a museum. "I can remember us visiting the place in around 1974," said Andrew. "It was February, there was snow on the ground and the whole place was derelict. The last time it had been used was for filming the Battle of Britain."

Bob was made project manager and worked with Ted Inman, who became the museum's director from 1978-2004.

In Newmarket Bob was a member of the town's Rotary and Probus clubs, while Jill was one of the practice secretaries for Dr Simon Bailey.

The plane flew from Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Picture: Philip Fuller (3452246)
The plane flew from Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Picture: Philip Fuller (3452246)

"When I contacted Duxford and told them about dad they were only too happy for one of the Spitfires to could fly over the cemetery," said Andrew. "It was a plane that would have been used for reconnaissance missions during the war, all the guns were stripped out and it carried just a camera which made it very fast." The plane, piloted by John Romain, also flew over Hamilton Road, where Bob and Jill had also once lived.

"I hope the show put a smile on many people's faces," said Andrew. "My mother and father would have wanted that most of all, after all, they were who my father volunteered to fight on behalf of, and their children, and their children's children."


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