During the winter of 1977/78, I was at RAF Swinderby on my recruit’s course. Although I didn’t realize at the time, it was to be the start of a lifelong love of the Vulcan.

Several mornings each week, we would be sent out to run around the old airfield early in the morning, soon after first light. Usually it was cold, damp and miserable – and everybody hated it. One morning was different, it was freezing cold but the sky was clear, cloudless and a deep azure blue, one of those rare winter mornings that are just perfect. Then we heard it, then we saw it.

The sky started to fill with Vulcans from nearby RAF Waddington. The noise became deafening, the blue sky criss-crossed with contrails. I don’t recall how many there were, but it seemed like dozens (it probably wasn’t!). Everybody stopped and stared, including the PT instructors. Their shouts would have been drowned out anyway.

It was the single most memorable experience of that entire course and has stayed with me to this day.