I DISAGREE with Steve Cox, (Letters, July 8) that the Battle of Britain fly past struck a jarring note in York’s celebration of the Tour de France.

People in my age-group have clear memories of the Second World War. The sight of that tiny machine brought tears to my eyes, as I recalled York Theatre Royal’s 2012 production of The Guinea Pig Club, the play about Sir Archibald McIndoe, the pioneering plastic surgeon who rebuilt the faces of surviving Spitfire pilots who were grossly disfigured by burns suffered during combat.

The fuel tank in a Spitfire was immediately in front of the pilot’s seat.

The Battle of Britain was not the only turning point in the war, but I and many others would have had a very different adolescence had the Germans not been defeated, and the high-flyers among our Jewish contemporaries would not have been able to make their contributions to the arts, medicine and academia.

I hope that the fly-past was a reminder of this, to later generations.

Competitors from nations which used to be one another’s enemies have long been able to take part together in international sporting events, but the courage of those young Spitfire pilots, 70 years ago, deserved a salute at last Sunday’s celebrations.

Mary Machen, Main Street, Fulford, York.


• IN my opinion Steve Cox (Letters, July 8) has it totally wrong when he says that the fly-past by the Spitfire and Lancaster ruined a good day.

These iconic aircraft and the brave men who flew in them are looked upon by millions of people throughout the world as the saviour of the free world.

Had it not been for these aircraft Mr Cox might not have been able to watch the tour on Sunday as the world we live in would be totally different to what it is now.

This weekend is the Flying Legends airshow at The Imperial War Museum Duxford and the show has 40,000 to 50,000 visitors each day and the two aircraft that get the most attention are the Spitfire and Lancaster.

These aircraft are symbols of freedom and long may they continue giving pleasure to the millions of people who love to see these aircraft fly. On Sunday they were the icing on the cake.

Mel Burley, Albion Avenue, York.


• I DO not know the age of Steve Cox, but it was because of these two fine aircraft we have the freedom of having the Tour de France in this country today.

Yes, it was 70 years ago and I was a young boy when the war ended, but I still get exited to see them.

W Poole, Falcon Close, Haxby, York.


• ON SUNDAY I stood in Bootham and like many people was amazed at TheTour de France.

One of the highlights was the fly past of the Spitfire and Lancaster bomber brilliant, showing respect for all the airmen from Elvington many who were the free French who took off night after night with not many returning.

So we could enjoy freedom and the events like le Tour. It was annoying to read the letter from Mr Cox, which shows no understanding or respect to the memory of the airmen who lost their lives during the war.

These planes are iconic and part of our history and the fly past was far from being misguided.

From the son of a Flying Fortress Bomber and nephew of a engineer shot down in a Lancaster over Germany.

Tony Wash, Windsor Drive, Wigginton, York.