THE skies ovwe Southend were the backdrop for a beautiful display of wartime aircraft featuring two Lancaster bombers flying in formation.

Five Second World War fighters and bombers arrived at Southend Airport this weekend, including the Lancasters, one of which had been flown all the way from Canada.

Joining the Lancasters were two Spitfires and a DC3 paradrop aircraft, all owned and flown by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby.

The aircraft were taking part in the annual four-day Eastbourne Seafront Airshow in Kent, but were based at the airport due to strong cross winds at Biggin Hill.

Dan Rodgers, chairman of the Essex Military Support Association, said: “They were not expected here so it was a nice surprise.

“I just heard there were some Lancasters in the area so headed down to the airport and they had the whole Battle of Britain Memorial Flight lined up.

“Theywere meant to be based at Biggin Hill but obviously the weather meant they couldn’t get there so it was great for Southend to give them a base instead.

“Without the Southend Airshow this year it was like we got our own unexpected miniversion.”

The Lancaster Bombers will return to Southend on Thursday and be based there for three days while they take part in the Clacton Seafront Airshow.

The Memorial Flight is regularly seen at events commemorating the Second World War and also British state occasions such as Trooping the Colour.