Spitfire Pilots Return To London

A group of Australian ex-Spitfire pilots in their 80s and 90s are heading to London today for a ceremony to mark their contribution to the allied forces during World War II.

More here.
Two points come out of this for me. Why restrict it to Spitfire Pilots? Hurricane pilots were as brave (for instance). I mean it is their ceremony and they can do what they want but I hope it is extended beyond the glamour image of the Spitfire Pilots.
And the second point:

The Australian Govt declined to pay the fares.

But one of Australia’s most avid military aviation collectors, David Lowy, has stepped in to fund the ex-servicemen’s trip, shouting each of them return business-class fares.

The Government told the ABC on Friday it will provide $5,000 to the veterans to attend the London commemoration.

The govt is contributing all of $5,000 to servicement who were defending far more than England and the Empire? This is the same Govt paying out close to $1,000 per person for no reason (except the servicemen won’t get that as they are pensioners now).

I can’t believe this Govt is so cheap.

It’s the Spitfire Association, not the Anybody Who Served Association.

Not sure why you think the government should pay for this. Does Australia have a “we’re really not sure what to spend it on but if it sounds like a worthy cause” fund?

In the US we have organizations that sponsor trips for Veterans to visit the WWII memorial in Washington DC. It’s done privately.

I don’t think it was made clear in the article. Is this ceremony being put on by the Spitfire Association? If so, then I’d assume they wanted to honour Spitfire pilots. The video says that five squadrons are going, and three of them are Spitfire squadrons.

in the article, as far as I see, it is the Australian Spitfire Association which made the request for funding. It doesn’t state explicitly that the ceremony is run by the Spitfire Association.

I’m not sure what gives with Magiver, bu the Govt does fund projects involving ex servicemen- such as the 75th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli. Such things do not fall within Does Australia have a “we’re really not sure what to spend it on but if it sounds like a worthy cause” fund?

Did they fly the Veterans to Turkey, build a memorial or what? What fund did it come out of? How is the Australian economy doing right now?

As far as that goes, it doesn’t explicitly say that this is only for Spitfire squadrons. The video does say that three out of five squadrons are Spitfire squadrons, so two appear not to be. If Australian news services are anything like their American counterparts, it may just be that the reporter doesn’t know anything about WWII and assumes that Spits were the only aircraft fighting.

And why eleven squadrons? The video says five are going, so that implies that the other six are from somewhere else. Maybe the ceremony is just for the pilots and squadrons that specifically defended London? (I’d have to research who was there, so I’m just throwing it out.)

I’d like to see a more in-depth story before I can really make any valid guesses.

Yes, the veterans were flown to Turkey. Similarly the Govt has flown WW1 vets to France for various ceremonies.

The economy is doing as well as can be expected (your snark noted).

Johnny LA, I agree that there is not a lot of detail there. I was more hoping ceremonies in total are not restricted to just one group of pilots.

I’m sorry about the snarky tone but your question was altruistic at the very least. There has to be a reason to choose a segment of the Veteran population for this money and it has to come from a fund. I would think the first thing the public would ask is what about the ground-pounder who ate sand for breakfast during the African campaigns (or some similar thought). And despite what you’ve said, Australia is likely heading for a recession.

We seem to be at cross purposes.

You state:

And despite what you’ve said, Australia is likely heading for a recession.

I have never said Australia was not heading to a recession- all I said was that the economy was doing as well as could be expected… Or perhaps you can point me to where I have said Australia was not going to have a recession?

Suppose you admit that spending money in a recession doesn’t make sense and we’ll continue with the discussion instead of trying to make the discussion the discussion.

I’m afraid I have to give up as I have no idea what you are talking about.

What, the recession that is primarily caused by everyone ceasing to spend money?

To partially answer other questions, from here. My bolding.

So the ceremony isn’t Spit-only or even fighter-only. Temora only mentions Spitfires, and the canned quotes are from a Spitfire Association vets, but it’s still not clear if all the 12 vets funded are ex Spit pilots or even all pilots. The headlines are about Spit pilots but the complete group is referred to as ‘veterans’ by Tamora and ‘ex-servicement’ in the ABC article- they may very well include air gunners, bombardiers or even fitters for all we know. Temora didn’t make it clear, and the media are congenitally incapable of doing anything more than regurgitating press releases pretty much verbatim.

Be that as it may, I doubt any money spent on this trip will benefit Australia or Australian businesses. QANTAS, maybe.

Their money, their choice. They can stick it in the bank, fly wrinkly old battlers back and forth, burn it on a bonfire, bail out a bank with it, whatever they think is the best use of it. I couldn’t care less since I’m not an Aussie taxpayer.

Well, your post reads like an argument for the Oz government increasing its spending to help curb (or avert) recession. I’m just pointing out that this would not be a wise use of funds, if that’s the goal.

Thanks for the info Slaphead.

I’d like to make comment about the Australian Govt and it’s use of Taxpayer money, however I am not sure that this is an appropriate thread.

What I will say is that $5,000 is chicken shit and the Govet could have spent much much more- and would of if they thought there was some political mileage for itself.

The Press always thinks “Spitfire”. It’s the only one they’ve ever heard of. Of course it lasted much longer as an air superiority fighter than the Hurricane.

How does a government justify culling out a few veterans and sending them on vacation? First, you’re narrowing it to veterans, and then you’re limiting it to a handful of them. How does that work? It’s great that the veterans are honored but without some legislative thought process it’s just someone cutting a check out of the general fund. Who’s the someone and what fund are they pulling the money out of?

As I said before, we’re doing that over here but it’s done with private funds. If you want to go, you throw your name in a hat and are matched up to funds as donations permit.

The Spitfire was more of an interceptor than an air superiority fighter; the . Anyway, the Hurricane had far more kills than the Spitfire. It just isn’t as pretty. The P-51, which was based on the Spitfire in a roundabout way, was a true air superiority fighter because it had the range to go somewhere else and shoot things. The Spitfire didn’t.