Luton - Vauxhall Motors, along with Rolls-Royce one of only two surviving British manufacturers to supply vehicles for military use during World War 1, is to support the ‘Biggles Biplane’ BE-2, an authentic flying replica of the world’s first purpose-designed military aeroplane, as it commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War.
A Vauxhall Zafira Tourer, carrying a special livery portraying the 1914 two-seat observation biplane, and a 1914 Vauxhall Type D Army staff car will accompany the aircraft at events across the UK through 2014.
The BE-2 aircraft will cross the Channel to commemorate the first deployment of the Royal Flying Corps to France in August 1914 and will land at Amiens in France on 13th August 2014, exactly one hundred years to the day from the arrival of the first aeroplanes accompanying the British Expeditionary Force. The aircraft will then take a leading role in the ceremonies organised by the Western Front Association and the British and French governments, including flypasts over Great War trenches and over a special ‘drumhead service’ at the Arras military war cemetery.
Now, as then, the aeroplane will naturally require ground support. Between 1914 and 1918, Vauxhall Motors was at the forefront of such activities, with over 1,500 examples of the Vauxhall D-Type being built at the rate of about eight per week to the order of the War Office. This year the spacious, comfortable and economical Vauxhall Zafira Tourer will provide a similar support role, 100 years on.
‘Vauxhall is proud to support this wonderful recreation of a very important, historic aeroplane,’ said Denis Chick, Vauxhall’s Director of Communications. ‘Our company’s vehicles have played a pivotal role in both wars, with the D-Type staff car in the Great War and the Churchill Tank in World War Two, so it’s fitting that we should bring these vehicles together for such an important commemoration.’