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Probus war veterans try Spitfire simulator

Former squadron leader and Probus club member Bill Lucas at the controls of the Wisborough Green Flight Simulator with trip organiser Ian Davis - picture submitted

Former squadron leader and Probus club member Bill Lucas at the controls of the Wisborough Green Flight Simulator with trip organiser Ian Davis - picture submitted

The country’s oldest surviving Olympian and Second World War veteran had a trip down memory lane as he took the seat in a Spitfire simulator.

Former squadron leader Bill Lucas, 97, of Cowfold is a member of Horsham and Arun branch of the Probus Club.

He was one of several Probus members, who took the cockpit seat in the flight simulator in Wisborough Green.

Mr Lucas operated 81 flying missions in Wellington, Stirling and Mosquito bombers during the Second World War and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.

Speaking about the Spitfire experience he said: “It wasn’t comparable to flying a real aircraft for someone who’s flown an aircraft. It was exciting, it was nostalgic.”

Mr Lucas also competed and won games in the 1940 Olympics in Helsinki, however, due to war breaking out it was not until the London 1948 Games that he was given a gold medal for his achievement.

Last month he was joined by nine other Probus members, including fellow war veteran George Elliott and others involved in aviation.

Organiser Ian Davis said: “I got to hear about it through another friend of mine, who picked a brochure up. Having been in aviation for most of my career, I was obviously interested.

“In March I went along with my twin brother. We tried it for the morning and we had a thoroughly interesting morning. We thought it was very realistic.”

He said everyone had a wonderful time whether they had experience of flying or not. Probus has 4,000 clubs worldwide, five of which are in Horsham. All members are retired businessman and membership is usually by referrals.

For more information about Probus go to www.probus.org/probus%20uk.html

 

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