In what would have been a first since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, the RAF’s Red Arrows had planned to fly over the four nations’ capital cities to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Japan Day on Saturday.
The Red Arrows had planned to fly directly over the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, home of the Chelsea Pensioners, including three Burma Star recipients, at 5.30pm, before the event was cancelled.
Sharing the news on Twitter, Martin Pert, team leader and Red 1 of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said: “Whilst it may be lovely weather in some parts of the UK, we’ve encountered lots of very low cloud across much of the kingdom.
“This often means we have to fly at higher levels to preserve fuel to counter that same cloud on approach to destination airfields.”
Sadly, the appalling weather - as seen here on approach into @RAFBrizeNorton this afternoon - has forced us to cancel today’s flypast over #London for #VJDay75. Very disappointing but safety always our first priority. #RedArrows pic.twitter.com/nEd4BTZhBp— Red Arrows (@rafredarrows)August 15, 2020
In place of the cancelled Edinburgh flight, the Red Arrows flew over Glasgow Prestwick Airport, where the aircraft landed to greet three Second World War veterans.
Whitson Johnson, Albert Lamond and Barney Roberts welcomed the pilots as they stopped to refuel, with the men exchanging stories of serving in the armed forces, three quarters of a century apart.
The flypast carried on to Belfast as scheduled at 2pm, flying over the city centre and cheering crowds.
The aircraft passed the landmark Titanic building and the Harland and Wolff shipyard cranes as they flew up Belfast Lough, leaving red, white and blue trails in their wake.
The Red Arrows were due to fly over the Welsh capital at 2.40pm before landing at Cardiff Airport, where crowds had braved the rain to await them.
Ground crew from the flight did meet Second World War RAF veteran Ray Taylor, from Ton Pentre, Rhondda, who saw service from 1942 to 1946 as a gunner and parachutist.