Island tributes paid to Spitfire pilot who died in crash

Published: 29 May 2024

Squadron Leader Mark Long

Tributes have been paid on the Island to an RAF pilot who was killed in a Spitfire crash while taking part in a Battle of Britain memorial event.

Squadron Leader Mark Long tragically died at the scene from his injuries after the World War Two-era plane came down near RAF Coningsby, in Lincolnshire on Saturday.

Ian Dore, organiser of the Isle of Wight Armed Forces Day, said: "First and foremost our thoughts are with Mark's family, friends, colleagues and extended military family.

"This is a tragic loss for everyone. I conveyed our condolences to the appropriate parties over the weekend. This is a small community and many we are engaging with knew Mark very well."

The RAF said it had taken the decision to temporarily ground the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) while investigations take place.

The BBMF planes, which include Spitfires, Hurricanes and a Lancaster bomber, are a popular sight at summer shows.

The flight is due to take part in a D-Day commemoration as part of this year's Isle of Wight Armed Forces Day on Sunday, 30 June.

Ian added: "Obviously, people are asking the question will it affect the event on the Island? The answer is we don’t know.

"Like other events, we still have the BBMF booked but there is nothing further to add at this stage. It’s because of the volume of questions on social media about this, that it had to be addressed.

"We are respecting the privacy like everyone else and as soon as we get any relevant information, it will be shared on our website and Facebook page."

Photo: Squadron Leader Mark Long – RAF Coningsby Photo Section