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Spitfire joins ‘Douglas’ for centenary celebrations at Tywyn

A full-size replica of a Spitfire aircraft joined in double celebrations at Talyllyn Railway at Tywyn when the RAF came to town.

The centenary of both the RAF and Talyllyn Railway’s ex-RAF locomotive No.6 ‘Douglas’ was celebrated on June 1. The locomotive is believed to be the only piece of equipment from the foundation of the RAF in regular service today.

No 6 Douglas can be regularly seen taking passengers on a journey between Tywyn and Nant Gwernol.

To mark the centenaries a special event had been laid on, with the Spitfire replica being erected at Tywyn Wharf Station. A wide variety of RAF personnel assembled, along with other guests.

Air Officer Wales Air Commodore Adrian Williams spoke of the RAF’s connections with Tywyn, particularly those from the locality who had served with distinction in the service of their country.

Bishop of Bangor, the Rt Revd Andy John, addressed a group of local schoolchildren on the history of No 6 Douglas, before blessing the locomotive assisted by the Vicar of Tywyn, the Rev Dr Ruth Hansford. Guests then took a special trip behind No.6 part the way up the railway.

The event was part of a larger event over the weekend, called ‘Leave on the Line’, which recalled in part some of the aspects of wartime in this part of Wales.

The weekend included a re-enactment of the ‘Calshot Express’, which used to run along Calshot Spit in Hampshire, which was where locomotive No.6 spent most of its RAF career hauling goods and personnel between the mainland and the RAF’s seaplane base on the spithead.

This base was also used for the Schneider Trophy races in 1929 and 1931 – on both occasions the trophy was won by planes designed by R. J. Mitchell and formed the basis for his design for the Spitfire.