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TV historian in WW1 dogfight over Maidenhead

TV historian in WW1 dogfight over Maidenhead

Michael Owens

TV historian in WW1 dogfight over Maidenhead

Three replica First World War planes took flight for an aerial battle over Maidenhead for a BBC documentary.

Presenter Dan Snow tweeted a selfie from the skies on Monday, May 19 as he rode shotgun in a replica BE2c plane as it evaded German 'attack'.

The historian was filming for a show for the WW1 Uncut online series.

The trio of planes were flown by the Great War Display Team, which took off from White Waltham Airfield for aerial combat.

The BE2c was Britain's first ever military aeroplane and designed to observe enemy artillery.

It was joined by a replica of a British fighter plane acting as an escort, a Sopwith triplane.

Together they attempted to fend off an 'attack' from a replica German Fokker tri-plane, owned by display team member - and singer of heavy metal legends Iron Maiden - Bruce Dickinson.

It was piloted by team leader Gordon Brander.

"We did a low pass over the cameras [at the airfield], went over Henley and ‘shot them down’," said the retired British Airways pilot from Virginia Water.

"The Fokker shows the rate of progress and technological change in World War One.

"It would have won every time."

Plumes of smoke poured from the Tommy's crafts as the German plane won the day, though all three planes returned safely back to the ground in one piece.

The same could just about be said for their guest passenger after he was thrown around throughout an afternoon of evasive manoeuvres.

“[The team] were great and are obviously very experienced and have beautiful planes,” said Nathan Williams, director of Ballista, which produced the programme.

“I think Dan found it quite tough - he looked shattered.

“It’s a very physical experience.”

The episode of WW1 Uncut will be released on BBC iPlayer on June 19.

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