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Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Pilot reunited with old war plane
John Moffat
John Moffat described his attack on the Bismarck as terrifying
A war veteran has spoken of his overwhelming sense of nostalgia at being reunited with a Swordfish aeroplane after more than 60 years.

Commander John Moffat was a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, the air branch of the Royal Navy, during World War II.

The 86-year-old grandfather, from Dunkeld in Perthshire, was one of 15 Swordfish pilots who helped sink the German battleship Bismarck in 1941.

He was reunited with the Swordfish on Friday for the first time since 1945.

His reunion with the biplane happened at the third London Air Show at Earl's Court exhibition centre.

'Pride' of navy

Mr Moffat said: "It has been very nostalgic, as you can imagine.

"I am very fond of these aircraft. I travelled hundreds and hundreds of miles across oceans in them.

"I am just sad that I have lost touch with the other pilots and navigators who flew in them."

Mr Moffat, who still flies, served in the Fleet Air Arm between 1939 and 1946, seeing action over the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

We didn't have a ship that size in all of the British Navy
John Moffat

That included one of the most dramatic battles of the war, which resulted in the sinking of the Bismarck, then the pride of the German Navy.

Swordfish planes, which carried large torpedoes, were based on aircraft carriers and used to help protect convoys.

Recalling his feelings of terror during the Bismarck encounter, Mr Moffat said: "We didn't have a ship that size in all of the British Navy.

"All the one side of that ship was firing at me. It was a vision of hell. I dropped the torpedo then just got out of there. It was me who got the rudder."

Of the Bismarck's 2,200 crew, only 115 survived.


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