An aircraft landed on top of the Theatre Royal in the centre of York early this morning.  The city centre was deserted as the Hawker Hurricane made its unique "flight" at the start of Armed Forces Day.

The fighter aircraft arrived on the 70th anniversary of the arrival of French airmen in the city during the Second World War.

It will remain on the roof of the theatre's restaurant extension in St Leonard's Place for more than a week so that it can be part of the Tour de France celebrations when the cyclists will pass directly in front of it and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight makes a fly-past over the race in honour of Second World War French airmen.

The Second World War fighter aircraft belongs to Yorkshire Air Museum which transported it from its Elvington base by road to St Leonard's Place, where it was assembled and lifted by crane high above the city to be landed with precise care onto the roof.

Museum director Ian Reed said: "As this significant 70th anniversary co-incides exactly with the build up to the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in York, the Hurricane will provide both an amazing talking point for the city's celebration of this magnificent sporting event and provide a visual spectacle for the the television cameras following the peloton as it swoops past the Theatre Royal with York Minster resplendent in the background.

Two French bomber squadrons of the RAF, 346 "Guyenne" and 347 "Tunisie" began operations from RAF Elvington, now the museum, on July 1, 1944. Other events marking Armed Forces Day are also being held.