Dream come true for pilot Alan

Alan Robinson, left, with  Prince Harry
Alan Robinson, left, with Prince Harry

A local pilot achieved a life-long ambition when he took part in an historic flypast to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Corporal Alan Robinson, from Howsham, was one of just two injured servicemen chosen to fly solo in an iconic Spitfire to mark the military milestone.

And Cpl Robinson, 37, even met Prince Harry at the event, held in West Sussex.

He said: “It was quite a surreal day. Meeting Harry and everything, we don’t normally go in the same circles.

“Just to be involved in something like that was incredible.

“It’s such a rare thing and such an historic thing, it’s hard to describe.

“I was thinking ‘I hope I don’t get this wrong’.

“Just the sound of the other aircrafts starting up. It took you back 75 years.

“It was quite emotional.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of doing since being a little boy.

“The sound of the big engines starting up was amazing.”

Cpl Robinson, an aircraft technician at RAF Waddington, learnt to fly with a disabled flying school after he lost a leg in a motorbike accident in 2011.

Cpl Robinson, who lives in Howsham, said: “My friends that fly are incredibly jealous and a lot of them are quite proud that they know someone that’s had a bad time of things and done something positive.

“He (Prince Harry) was quite cool, that’s the amazing thing about him.

“He’s just like an ordinary guy, it’s quite astonishing really.

“I was quite nervous about meeting him but he puts you at ease.

“He was quite pally actually.”

Cpl Robinson was chosen to take part after a selection weekend at RAF Cranwell last August.

He said: “I did various tests and bits and pieces and I got chosen.”

And incredibly, Cpl Robinson learnt how to fly just a week after having a a prosthetic leg fitted.

He said: “A week after getting my prosthetic leg I went to a disabled flying school near Salisbury.

“I gave it a go and it didn’t present any major problems.

“I started flying off my own bat.”

During the summer and autumn of 1940, 544 personnel from Fighter Command died as the RAF fought in the skies above southern England to force back the threat of any invasion by Hitler.

The 75th anniversary is likely to be the last major anniversary at which the surviving members of the pivotal conflict - who are now well into their 90s - will be fit to take part.