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The Swordfish Tour


The Swordfish Tour

To coincide with the Tour de France starting in the French city of Brest we are setting out a new cycling challenge for this summer to run alongside the existing distance cycling awards (live link to those).

The Tour de France starts from a location where Fairey Swordfish flew in service in WW2. We challenge you to cycle the 395 miles from where the Navy Wings Swordfish is located now in Somerset to Brest, where the tour begins, in memory of two Swordfish crew who died in service in the Second World War.

On the night of the 11th and 12th of December 1940 Swordfish L2748 was sent on a mine laying sortie to Brest, Northwestern France. The two crew, Sub Lt (A) Edward Marlow Hamilton (pilot) and Midshipman (A) Peter Newton Lofts (observer) were shot down by German anti-aircraft guns and died when the aircraft crashed at Plouzané just outside Brest. The 21-year-old pilot and 19-year-old observer were laid to rest in the nearby Kerfautras cemetery, not far from the start of the 2021 Tour de France race.

In memory of their sacrifice, we are asking you to take up the 395-mile cycle challenge to help keep their story, and those of hundreds of others like them, alive in history: this is why we still fly the iconic Swordfish today.

You have between the 26th of June and the 18th of July to complete your challenge, the duration of the Tour de France. The 395 miles is calculated as if you are cycling the road distance and taking the ferry.

Sign up for our challenge for £25 and receive your Swordfish medal on completion. Raise at least £250 in sponsorship and we will send you an exclusive Navy Wings certificate and branded cycling snood. You will also be able to visit our hangar at RNAS Yeovilton to be presented with your completion medal in front of the Swordfish.

Register to take on the Swordfish Tour

Find out more about the mighty Swordfish

Navy WIngs Swordfish