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Welcome to our website featuring a comprehensive collection of artwork, prints, oil paintings, acrylics and pencil drawings of the Battle of Britain.  Many of the products you see here are entirely exclusive to Cranston Fine Arts, and will not be found elsewhere on the internet.  Many original drawings and print editions are signed by the brave pilots who flew these aircraft so many years ago - pilots from both the RAF and Luftwaffe, as well as Allied pilots from occupied Europe, the British Commonwealth and volunteers from America.  On the site you will find our large collection is easily searchable from the menus of aircraft, squadrons and signatures.  We also have a searchable database of all pilots featured on the Battle of Britain memorial and much more historical info linked to throughout the site.


Aircraft of the Battle of Britain

Royal Air Force Fighter, the Hawker Hurricane had a top speed of 320mph, at 18,200 feet and 340mph at 17,500, ceiling of 34,200 and a range of 935 miles. The Hurricane was armed with eight fixed wing mounted .303 browning machine guns in the Mark I and twelve .303 browning's in the MKIIB in the Hurricane MKIIC it had four 20mm cannon. All time classic fighter the Hurricane was designed in 1933-1934, the first prototype flew in June 1936 and a contract for 600 for the Royal Air Force was placed. The first production model flew ion the 12th October 1937 and 111 squadron of the Royal Air Force received the first Hurricanes in January 1938. By the outbreak of World war two the Royal Air Force had 18 operational squadrons of Hurricanes. During the Battle of Britain a total of 1715 Hurricanes took part, (which was more than the rest of the aircraft of the Royal air force put together) and almost 75% of the Victories during the Battle of Britain went to hurricane pilots.  The Hawker Hurricane was used in all theatres during World war two, and in many roles. in total 14,533 Hurricanes were built.

Hurricane

Willy Messerschmitt designed the BF109 during the early 1930's The BF109 was one of the first all metal monocoque construction fighters with a closed canopy and retractable undercarriage.  During World War Two the BF109 was the main fighter for the Luftwaffe until 1942 when the FW190 entered service and shared this position.  The BF109 scored more kills than any other fighter of any country during the war. and was built in greater numbers with a total of over 31,000 aircraft being built.  The BF109 was flown by the three top German aces opf the war war. Erich Hartmann with 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories and Gunther Rall with 275  kills. All three Pilots flew with Jagfgeschwader 52.  The Messerschmitt BF109 was credited with over 10,000 victories

Bf109

Royal Air Force fighter aircraft, maximum speed for mark I Supermarine Spitfire, 362mph up to The Seafire 47 with a top speed of 452mph. maximum ceiling for Mk I 34,000feet up to 44,500 for the mark XIV.  Maximum range for MK I 575 miles . up to  1475 miles for the Seafire 47. Armament for the various Marks of Spitfire. for MK I, and II . eight fixed .303 browning Machine guns, for MKs V-IX and XVI two 20mm Hispano cannons and four .303 browning machine guns. and on later Marks, six to eight Rockets under the wings or a maximum bomb load of 1,000 lbs.  Designed by R J Mitchell, The proto type Spitfire first flew on the 5th March 1936. and entered service with the Royal Air Force in August 1938, with 19 squadron based and RAF Duxford. by the outbreak of World war two, there were twelve squadrons with a total of 187 spitfires, with another 83 in store. Between 1939 and 1945, a large variety of modifications and developments produced a variety of MK,s from I to XVI.  The mark II came into service in late 1940, and in March 1941, the Mk,V came into service.  To counter the Improvements in fighters of the Luftwaffe especially the FW190, the MK,XII was introduced with its Griffin engine.  The Fleet Air Arm used the Mk,I and II and were named Seafires.  By the end of production in 1948 a total of 20,351 spitfires had been made and 2408 Seafires.  The most produced variant was the Spitfire Mark V, with a total of 6479 spitfires produced.  The Royal Air Force kept Spitfires in front line use until April 1954.

Spitfire

The Bf-110 grew out of Herman Gorings specifications for a multipurpose aircraft capable of penetrating deep into enemy airspace to clear the sky of enemy fighters in advance of German bomber formations. The aircraft would also be utilized as a long range interceptor, and as a ground support and ground attack bomber. The Bf-110 prototype first flew in 1936. The prototype was under powered with its Daimier Benz DB 600A engines. Several months passed before a go ahead was given for large scale production which commenced in 1938. Utilizing  improved DB 601 engines, the early production 110s were as fast as any single engine fighter at that time, and had superior fire power. Their biggest apparent weakness was in the areas of armor protection for the crew, and in terms of maneuverability when compared to single seat fighters. The 110 was produced in large numbers and in many different variants. The 110D was the long range model. An additional belly tank was fitted to that aircraft, with several later variants having the more traditional drop tanks. The first serious test for the Bf-110 came during the Battle of Britain. About 300 Bf-110s were involved. They became easy prey for Hurricane and Spitfire pilots, and Bf-109s were often required to assist the 110s in their own defense. On August 15, 1940, which became known as Black Tuesday, the Bf-110s were ravaged by the RAF, and for the month over 100 aircraft were lost. On the Eastern Front the Bf-110 performed admirably in the early stages of Operation Barbarossa. With the Soviet Air Force weakened in the first several weeks of the attack, 110s were effectively utilized in a ground attack role. Ultimately, the Luftwaffe re-equipped a significant number of its 110s as night fighters. The aircraft performed well in this role because it was a good gun platform with sufficient speed to overtake the RAF night bombers. Such night missions were typically carried out with no Allied fighter escort, so the 110 night fighters would not have to engage or elude Allied fighters in this role.

Bf110

BOULTON PAUL DEFIANT  Built as a fighter, with a crew of two.   Maximum speed of 304 mph, and a ceiling of 30,350 feet.  armament on the defiant was four .303 browing machine guns in the Boulton Paul Turret.   Designed as a intercepter fighter, the Defiant first flew in August 1937. and entered service with the Royal Air Force in October 1939 with no 264 squadron.  and first flew in operations in march 1940 the Boulton Paul Defiant was certainly no match for the German Fighters, due to their lack of fire power as the defiant had no wing mounted machine guns. Heavy losses. The aircraft was re deployed as a night -Fighter in the autumn of 1940.  This role also being taken over by Bristol Beaufighters in 1941, leaving the defiant for training, target tug, and air-sea rescue roles.  A Total of 1075 Boulton Paul Defiant's were built

Defiant

By 1935 the German Luftwaffe was developing its first monoplane divebomber which entered production in 1936 as the Ju87 Stuka. The Stuka was to evolve into arguably the most successful single engine Axis divebomber of WW II. Utilizing a nearly vertical dive position the Stuka was stunningly accurate in the days when horizontal bombing was a relatively inaccurate science. The Ju87 was built for functionality and ruggedness. A fixed landing gear and exceptionally strong wing design were incorporated and no attempt was made to minimize protrusions. The Stuka was not designed for speed; it was an aerodynamic nightmare. The Stuka also incorporated a siren which when activated during a dive was designed to inflict psychological damage on the enemy below. The Ju87 was used with tremendous success in the Blitzkrieg attacks on Norway, Poland, Belgium, France, Holland, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Virtually unchallenged in the air during these Blitzkriegs the Stukas took a devastating toll on Allied ground and mechanized forces. Shipping was also vulnerable to the pinpoint attacks of the Stuka, and the Ju87 destroyed more Allied shipping than all other German aircraft put together during WW II. During Hitlers air attacks on Britain the Stukas reputation for invulnerability was shattered. Facing British Hurricanes and Spitfires the slower and less maneuverable Ju87s were destroyed in large numbers, eventually forcing their withdrawal from that conflict. Germanys attempt to develop an improved twin engine divebomber resulted in the introduction of the Messerschmitt 210 which was an unmitigated disaster. As a result, the Stuka remained in production longer than expected and the aircraft played a major role in Germanys surprise attack on Russia. In the first day of combat alone Stukas were credited with the destruction of over 700 Russian aircraft with minimal losses. One of Germanys top aces of WW II was Hans-Ulrich Rudel. Rudel flew over 2,500 combat missions in Ju87s, and was shot down on twelve occasions. Rudel was credited with destroying 519 tanks, 800 vehicles, 150 artillery pieces, one Russian battleship, one cruiser and one destroyer. Rudel was also credited with shooting down nine Russian aircraft in air-to-air combat.

Ju87 Stuka

The Bristol Blenheim, the most plentiful aircraft in the RAFs inventory when WWII began, was designed by Frank Barnwell, and when first flown in 1936 was unique with its all metal monoplane design incorporating a retractable undercarriage, wing flaps, metal props, and supercharged engines. A typical bomb load for a Blenheim was 1,000 pounds. In the early stages of the war Blenheims were used on many daylight bombing missions.  While great heroism was displayed by the air crews, tremendous losses were sustained during these missions. The Blenhiem was easy pickings at altitude for German Bf-109 fighters who quickly learned to attack from below. To protect the vulnerable bellies of the Blenheims many missions were shifted to low altitude, but this increased the aircrafts exposure to anti-aircraft fire.

Blenheim

The German medium bomber the Heinkel He111 was designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter.  The first He111 flew on 24th of February 1935, piloted by chief test pilot Gerhard Nitschke.  The Heinkel He111 was the primary medium bomber of the Luftwaffe during the opening years of World War Two and the major bomber during the Battle of Britain. It was also used as a torpedo bomber during the Battle of the Atlantic.  The Heinkel He111 was used in all theatres, Western, Eastern, Middle East and Northern Africa. He111 continued in production into 1944 and by the end of the war it was used primarily as a transport. Its origins came from a pre war airliner design.

He111

 

 

Battle of Britain
Summer 1940

Battle of Britain, Summer 1940

Battle of Britain

After winning the Battle of France, the Luftwaffe sought to gain air superiority in the skies over Britain during the summer of 1940. The ensuing defence by the RAF against the onslaught of the Luftwaffe became known as the Battle of Britain. It was the first major campaign fought entirely by means of aerial combat. Initially, the Luftwaffe attacked shipping in the English Channel, and shipping ports such as Portsmouth and Plymouth. By August, they were concentrating their attacks on RAF airfields and ground installations. However, in a move that probably invited defeat for Germany in the battle, the Luftwaffe switched from bombing RAF targets to bombing major cities. This move allowed the airfields the time to recover and regroup, making the defence capabilities of Britain stronger.

By the summer of 1940, the RAF had approximately 9,000 pilots and 5,000 aircraft, most of which were bombers. By the 1st of July, the Commander of Fighter Command, Marshal Hugh Dowding could provide just 1103 fighter pilots - which came from the regular RAF squadrons, the Auxiliary Air Force squadrons and the Volunteer Reserve. Replacement pilots with little flight training and often no gunnery training suffered high casualty rates. Meanwhile, the Luftwaffe comprised 1450 fighter pilots, many with experience from the Spanish Civil Wars just a few years earlier. During the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe used four primary bombers. These were the Heinkel He111, Dornier Do17 and Junkers Ju88 for level bombing, and the Junkers Ju87 Stuka dive bomber. These were escorted by Messerschmitt Me109 and Me110 fighters. Defending Britain against the Luftwaffe were the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire squadrons of the RAF. While Britain successfully defended the air during the battle and repelled any invasion attempt by denying the Luftwaffe air superiority, losses were high on both sides of the battle. Between the official dates of the battle - 10th July to 31st October 1940 - 2936 fighter pilots took part n the battle on the British side, including 595 non-British pilots. These included 145 pilots from Poland, 127 from New Zealand, 112 from Canada, 88 from Czechoslovakia, 28 from Belgium, 32 from Australia, 25 from South Africa, 13 from France, 10 from Ireland, 7 from America, and 1 from each of Jamaica, Palestine and Rhodesia.

The Allied losses were 544 aircrew killed, 422 wounded and 1547 aircraft destroyed, while the Luftwaffe lost 2698 aircrew killed, and lost 1887 aircraft.

This key battle was considered the first crucial defeat for Germany. Had the Luftwaffe been successful in its aims, Germany could have invaded Britain, and had the invasion been successful, the outcome of the war could have been very different, with nowhere for the American Air Force to launch attacks on Germany from.

 

Latest Battle of Britain Artwork Releases !

The Luftwaffe had done everything in its power to pummel London into submission but they failed. By the end of September 1940 their losses were mounting. For weeks since the early days of September, London had been the main target for the Luftwaffe and during that time Luftwaffe High Command had grown increasingly despondent as their losses steadily mounted. Far from being on the brink of collapse RAF Fighter Command, though vastly outnumbered, had shown an incredible resilience. The fighting had reached a dramatic climax on Sunday 15th September when, bloodied and bruised, the Luftwaffe had lost the upper hand on a day of intense combat that had culminated with a humiliating retreat. Almost every day that had passed since then had seen the Luftwaffe do everything in its power to pummel London and regain the initiative, but the daylight raids were becoming increasingly costly. On Friday 27th September, 80 days after the Battle of Britain had officially begun, the Luftwaffe came once more, this time concentrating on the fastest bombers they had - Ju88s and Bf110s. And they came in force, principally targeting London and Bristol. Anthony Saunders' superb painting depicts one of these raids, this time by bombers from KG77 as they head over the Medway Estuary, east of the City of London, in an attempt to attack the capital's warehouses and docks. Among the many units defending the capital that day was 92 Squadron from Biggin Hill and Anthony portrays the Spitfire of Pilot Officer Geoffrey Wellum in his dramatic piece. With a deft flick of the rudder Wellum banks his fighter away to port seconds after sharing in the destruction of a Ju88. It was just one of more than 50 German aircraft destroyed by the RAF during the day.
Decisive Blow by Anthony Saunders.
 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1As of No.610 (County of Chester) Sqn RAAF, intercept incoming Heinkel 111H-16s of the 9th Staffel, Kampfgeschwader 53 Legion Condor during the big daylight raids on London of August and September 1940 - the climax of the Battle of Britain.  Spitfire N3029 (DW-K) was shot down by a Bf109 on the 5th of September 1940 and crash-landed near Gravesend, Kent, thankfully without injury to Sgt Willcocks, the pilot.  For the record, N3029 was rebuilt and, following some brief flying in the UK, was sent overseas by convoy to the Middle East.  Ironically, the ship carrying this aircraft was torpedoed en route and both ship and all its cargo were lost.

Close Encounter by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Posted to 64 Squadron on 1st July 1940, </a>the tragically short relationship of Sub Lt F Dawson Paul with the Spitfire was crammed with victories.  He immediately shared a Dornier Do17 off Beachy Head and, just four days later claimed a Messerschmitt Bf.109.  Further kills were confirmed over the next two weeks, among them five Bf.110s and another Do.17. His final victory was a Bf.109 on 25th, but on this day he fell to the guns of the German ace Adolf Galland.  Dawson Paul was rescued from the English Channel by a German E-boat, but died of his wounds five days later as a prisoner of war.

The Longest July by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Squadron Leader H C Sawyer is depicted here flying his 65 Sqn Spitfire Mk.1a R6799 (YT-D) in the skies above Kent on 31st July 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain.  Chasing him is Major Hans Trubenbach of 1 Gruppe, Lehrgeschwader 2 in his Messerschmitt Vf109E-3 (Red 12) . The encounter lasted eight minutes with both pilots surviving.

High Pursuit by Ivan Berryman. (PC)

 Hawker Hurricane Mk 1s of No 242 Sqn patrol a glorious September sky as the Battle of Britain reaches its climax in the Summer of 1940. The nearest aircraft is that of Sqn Ldr Douglas Bader, flying V7467 in which he claimed four victories, plus two probables and one destroyed. P/O W L McKnight (LE-A) and P/O D W Crowley-Milling (LE-M) are in close attendance.

High Patrol by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Routine, though essential, maintenance is carried out on a 501 Sqn Hurricane at the height of the Battle of Britain during the Summer of 1940.  Hurricane P3059 <i>SD-N</i> in the background is the aircraft of Group Captain Byron Duckenfield.

Ground Force by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 Pilot Officer Allan Wright - later Group Captain, and awarded DFC and AFC - pilots Spitfire QJ-S of No.92 Squadron during the Battle of Britain, with his wingman in close support.

Summer 1940 by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
A Gloster Gladiator MkII of 247 Sqn is depicted patrolling off the Cornish coast in August 1940 during which time this squadron became the only one to operate the Gladiator in the defence of the South of England during the Battle of Britain.

Lone Gladiator by Ivan Berryman. (PC)
 

Featured Signatures of RAF and Allied Battle of Britain Pilots

Maurice Peter Brown (known as Peter) was born in London on 17th June 1919.  On leaving school he qualified for entry in the civil service with an appointment in the Air Ministry.  But in April 1938 he left to join the Royal Air Force with a short service commission.  In September 1939 he was posted to 611 West Lancashire Squadron with Spitfires in 12 Group, initially at Duxford and then Digby.  His initiation into battle was over Dunkirk.  He was at readiness throughout the Battle of Britain, including with the controversial Ducford Big Wing on 15th September, when the Luftwaffe's morale was broken, and then in late September with 41 Squadron at Hornchurch where the fiercest fighting with highest casualties had taken place.  It was a quantum leap.  In June 1941, after serving as a flight commander in the squadron, Peter was posted as an instructor to 61 Operational Training Unit at Heston and other OTUs and then at AFUs as a Squadron Leader Flying.  He left the RAF with the rank of Squadron Leader and was awarded the Air Force Cross.  In his flying career, Maurice Peter Brown flew Spitfire Mk.I, Mk.II and Mk.V.  We have learned the sad news that Maurice Peter Brown passed away on 20th January 2011.

Squadron Leader Maurice Peter Brown

Byron Duckenfield started at Flying Training School on 25th November 1935 in a Blackburn B2 at Brough. As a Sergeant, he joined No.32 Sqn at Biggin Hill on 8th August 1936 and flew Gauntlets and Hurricanes. He joined 74 Squadron at Hornchurch on 11th April 1940, flying Spitfires, and on 5th May was posted to 501 Squadron flying Hurricanes at Tangmere. On the 11th of May at Betheniville, he survived a crash in a  passenger transport Bombay aircraft in an aircraft in which he was a passenger, While comin ginto land  the aircraft at 200 feet the aircraft stalled and the aircrfat fell backwards  just levelly out as it histhe ground. 5 of th epassengers were killed when the centre section collapsed and crushed them. Duckenfield was fortunate as he had moved position during the flight. as the two passengers sitting each side of where he was sitting had died in the crash. (it was found later that the Bombay had beeb loaded with to much weight in the aft sectiion. )  recovering in hospital in Roehampton. On 23rd July 1940, he rejoined No.501 Sqn at Middle Wallop, then moved to to Gravesend two days later, scoring his first victory, a Ju87, on the 29th of July 1940. During August and September he scored three more victories. After a spell as a test pilot from 14th September 1940, he was posted to command 66 Squadron on 20th December 1941, flying Spitfires. On 26th February 1942 he took command of 615 Squadron flying Hurricanes from Fairwood Common, taking the squadron to the Far East. In late December 1942 he was shot down in Burma and captured by the Japanese. He remained a POW until release in May 1945. After a refresher course at the Flying Training School in November 1949, he took command of No.19 Squadron flying Hornets and Meteors from Chruch Fenton. After a series of staff positions, he retired from the RAF as a Group Captain on 28th May 1969.  Duckenfield would write later his details : <br><br>Burma<br><br>At first light, 12 Hurricanes IIC aircraft of 615 Squadron, myself in the lead, took off from Chittagong for central Burma to attack the Japanese air base at Magwe, 300 miles away on the banks of the River Irrawaddy.  Arriving at Yenangyaung, we turned downstream at minimum height for Magwe, 30 miles to the South and jettisoned  drop tanks.  Just before sighting the enemy base, the squadron climbed to 1200 feet and positioned to attack from up sun.  On the ramp at the base, in front of the hangers, were 10 or 12 Nakajima KI - 43 Oscars in a rough line up (not dispersed) perhaps readying for take.  These aircraft and the hangars behind them were attacked in a single pass, before withdrawing westward at low level and maximum speed.  A few minutes later perhaps 20 miles away form Magwe, I was following the line of a cheung (small creek), height about 250 feet, speed aboput 280 mph, when the aircraft gave a violent shudder, accompanied by a very lound, unusual noise.  The cause was instantly apparent: the airscrew has disappeared completely, leaving only the spinning hub.  My immediate reaction was to throttle back fully and switch off to stop the violently overspeeding engine.  Further action was obvious: I was committed to staying with the aircraft because, with a high initial speed, not enough height to eject could be gained without the help of an airscrew.  So I jettisoned the canopy and acknowledged gratefully the fact that I was following a creek; the banks of either side were hillocky ground, hostile to a forced landing aircraft.  Flying the course of the creek, I soon found the aircraft to be near the stall (luckily, a lower than normal figure without an airscrew) extended the flaps and touched down wheels-up with minimum impact ( I have done worse landings on a smooth runway!)  My luck was holding, if one can talk of luck in such a situation.  December is the height of the dry season in that area and the creek had little water, it was shallow and narrow at the point where I came down: shallow enough to support the fusalage and narrow enough to support wing tips.  So I released the harness, pushed the IFF Destruct switch, climed out and walked the wing ashore, dryshod.  The question may occur -Why did not others in the squadron see their leader go down? - the answer is simple, the usual tatctic of withdrawal from an enemy target was to fly single at high speed and low level on parallel courses until a safe distance from target was attained.  Then, the formation would climb to re-assemble.  Having left the aircraft, I now faced a formidable escape problem?  I was 300 miles from friendly territory: my desired route would be westward but 80% of that 300 miles was covered by steep north-south ridges impenetrably clothed in virgin jungle; these were natural impediments, there was also the enemy to consider.  Having thought over my predicament, I decided the best I could do - having heard reports of mean herted plainspeope - was to get as far into the hills as possible and then find a (hopefully sympathetic) village.  I suppose I may have covered about 15 miles by nightfall when I came upon this small hill village and walked into the village square. Nobody seemed surprised to see me (I suspect I had been followed for some time) I wa given a quiet welcome, seated at a table in the open and given food.  Then exhaustion took over, I fell asleep in the chair and woke later to find myself tied up in it.  Next day I was handed over to a Japanese sergeant and escort who took me back to Magwe and, soon after that, 2.5 years captivity in Rangoon jail.<br><br>Sadly we have learned that Byron Duckenfield passed away on 19th November 2010.

 Group Captain Byron Duckenfield AFC

John Cunningham joined the RAF in 1935 with 604 Squadron. At the outbreak of World War Two he was based at North Weald flying Blenheims on day escort and night fighter operations. In September 1940 he converted onto Beaufighters equipped with radar, the first aircraft that made night fighting really possible. In November he had the Squadrons first successful night combat. He took command of 604 Squadron in August 1941. After a period at HQ81 Group, he was posted on his second tour to command 85 Squadron equipped with Mosquitoes. In March 1944 with 19 night and 1 day victory he was posted to HQ11 Group to look after night operations.  The most famous Allied night fighter Ace of WWII - 20 victories.  He died 21st July 2002.  Born in 1917, Group Captain John Cunningham was the top-scoring night fighter ace of the Royal Air Force. Cunningham joined the RAF in 1935 as a Pilot Officer. He learned to fly in the Avro 504N and was awarded his wings in 1936. While assigned to the Middlesex Squadron Auxiliary based at Hendon, Cunningham received instruction in the Hawker Hart prior to moving on the Hawker Demon. The Demon was a two-seat day and night fighter. Cunningharns squadron was mobilized in 1938 following the Czechoslovak crisis. His No. 604 unit was moved to North Weald. Later in 1938 his unit returned to Hendon and was reequipped with the more modern Blenheim 1 fighter. In August of 1939 the unit was again mobilized and returned to North Weald. The Squadron was primarily utilized to provide daylight air cover for convoys. Lacking radar the Blenheim was relatively useless as a night fighter. In September of 1940 the unit was moved to Middle Wallop and the first Bristol Beaufighters arrived. The Beatifighter had a modestly effective, although often unreliable radar. It was an excellent aircraft with reliable air-cooled engines and four 20mm cannons. Cunningham attained the units first night victory in the Beaufighter, and his tally rose steadily. He was promoted to Wing Commander of 604 Squadron in August of 1941. Cunningham completed his first combat tour of duty in mid-1942 with a total of 15 victories. He was then posted to H.Q. 81 Group, which was an operational training group under the Fighter Command. In January of 1943 Cunningham was transferred to command of No. 85 Squadron which was equipped with the Mosquito. With the higher speed of the Mosquito, Cunningham was successful at downing Fw-190s, something impossible in the slower Beaufighter. Cunningham completed his second tour in 1944 with a total of nineteen victories at night and one by day. He was promoted to Group Captain at that time, and was assigned to H.Q. 11 Group. Cunninghams radar operator Sqd. Ldr. Jimmy Rawnsley participated in most of Cunninghams victories. The 604 Squadron was disbanded in 1945, but in 1946 Cunningham was given the honor of reforming the Squadron at Hendon - flying the Spitfire. Cunningham left the RAF in 1946 and joined the De Havilland Aircraft Co. at Hatfield as its Chief Test Pilot. Cunningham had a long and distinguished career in the British aviation industry, retiring from British Aerospace in 1980.  Cunningham was appointed OBE in 1951 and CBE in 1963. He was awarded the DSO in 1941 and Bars in 1942 and 1944; the DFC and Bar in 1941, also the Air Efficiency Award (AE). He also held the Soviet Order of Patriotic War 1st Class and the US Silver Star.  Group Capt John Cunningham died  at the age of  84 on the  21st July 2002.

Group Captain John Cunningham CBE DSO DFC AE DL FRAeS

Joined the R.A.F. in 1936. His first posting was to 1 squadron flying Furies then Hurricanes and first saw action over France in the Spring of 1940 and was awarded his first DFC by the end of the year. As a Squadron Leader he was sent to West Africa to command 128 Squadron. 1942 saw his commanding 112 squadron in North Africa, in July saw an immediate BAR to his DFC and in December an immediate DSO. Posted to Malta as Wing Commander he won a US DFC in 1943. Back in the UK he now was flying Typhoons in the lead up to D-Day. With Pete Brothers he was sent to the States to attend the US Staff School at Fort Leavenworth. After the war he continued in the R.A.F. serving in Japan, Malaya, Singapore, Switzerland and his final posting as Group Captain RAF Chivenor, Devon. Retired in July 1963. Going to Portugal where he ran a Bar and Restaurant and dealing in Real Estate. In his flying career he accounted for more than 24 enemy aircraft.

 Group Captain Billy Drake DSO DFC* 

Featured Signatures of Luftwaffe Battle of Britain Pilots

After success in the Battle of Britain, Hans-Ekkehard Bob took over leadership of 9./JG54 in 1940.  The following year he was awarded the Knights Cross.  Transferring to the Eastern Front his victories rose steadily to 50 by September 1942.  His Group later transferred back to the West for a short period, where in April 1943, he rammed a B-17 Fortress.  Returning to the Eastern Front as Kommander of IV./JG3, he ended the war as Adjutant of Gallands JV44 in the West.  In his 700 missions he scored 60 victories.

Major Hans-Ekkehard Bob

A young pilot with III/JG52 at the outbreak of war.  He quickly demonstrated his natural ability and leadership qualities, scoring his first air victory early in the Battle of Britain, and by July 1940 was leading 8/JG52.  After transfer to the Eastern Front his air victories mounted at an astonishing rate.  A crash hospitalised him but within nine months he was back in the cockpit, and, when commanding III/JG52, gained the Wings 500th victory.  Gunther fought throughout the war to become the 3rd highest Ace in history with 275 victories.  He was awarded the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.  Gunther Rall was born on March 10, 1918 in the small Bavarian town of Gaggenau, Baden. Immersing himself in Boy Scout activities during the difficult economic times in Germany following WW 1, Rall finished school in 1936 and joined the German Army. Influenced by a friend, who was a young officer in the Luftwaffe, Rall entered pilots school in 1938. His initial posting was with JG52. He attained his first aerial victory during the Battle of France in May of 1940. During the Battle of Britain JG52 absorbed many casualties, and Rall was promoted to Squadron Commander at the young age of 22. With his fair-hair and smooth complexion the young officer looked even younger than his years. But behind this pleasant exterior was a fierce competitor with the heart of a tiger. Later, Ralls squadron would support the attack on Crete, followed by deployment to the Southern Sector on the Eastern Front. Ralls victory totals began to mount. Following his 37 th victory, GiInther was himself shot down. He was lucky to survive the crash, but with a badly broken back he would spend most of the next year in various hospitals. In Vienna at the University Hospital he would meet his future wife, Hertha. Miraculously, Rall recovered and returned to the Luftwaffe in August of 1942. By November his score exceeded 100 and he was awarded the Oak Leaves to accompany the Knights Cross he was awarded only weeks earlier. As the War progressed against Russia, Rall began to encounter ever more experienced Soviet pilots flying better performing aircraft. Despite this fact, and being shot down several more times himself, Ralls victory tally kept rising. By March of 1944 the ace had attained 273 aerial victories. With the War now going badly for Germany, Rall was transferred to the Western Front. He was able to attain only two more victories against the swarms of Allied bombers and fighter escorts which now pounded Germany every day and night. In May of 1944 Rall was shot down by a P-47. Losing his thumb in the battle he remained out of combat until later in 1944. Ralls final assignments included flying 190Ds as Kornmodore of JG300, and flying the Me-262 jet. Ralls 275 aerial victories (attained on less than 700 combat sorties) make him the third highest scoring ace of all time. If not for the down time suffered as a result of his broken back, Rall might have actually equaled or exceeded Erich Hartmanns alltime record of 352 aerial victories. Rall was not much for socializing during the War. He was a fierce competitor with a businessmans attitude about flying. He was an excellent marksman, and possibly the best deflection shot expert of the War. He continued to fly with the Bundeslufwaffe following the War, serving as its Commander-In Chief in 1970-74.  Sadly Gunther Rall died on 4th October 2009.

General Gunther Rall

Adolf Galland fought in the great Battles of Poland, France and Britain, leading the famous JG26 Abbeville Boys.  He flew in combat against the RAFs best including Douglas Bader, Bob Stanford Tuck and Johnnie Johnson.  In 1941, at the age of 29, he was promoted to Inspector of the Fighter Arm.  In 1942 Hitler personally selected Galland to organise the fighter escort for the Channel Dash.  He became the youngest General in the German High Command but open disagreements with Goering led to his dismissal at the end of 1944.  He reverted to combat flying, forming the famous JV44 wing flying the Me262 jet fighter, and was the only General in history to lead a squadron into battle.  With 104 victories, all in the West, Adolf Galland received the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.  Born 19th March 1912, died 9th February 1996.  Born in 1911, Adolf Galland learned to fly at a state-sponsored flying club in the early 1930s. In 1933 he was selected to go to Italy for secret pilot training. Galland flew for a brief time as a commercial airline pilot prior to joining the clandestine Luftwaffe as a Second Lieutenant. In April of 1935 he was assigned to JG-2, the Richtofen Fighter Wing, and in 1937 he joined the ranks of the Condor Legion flying the He-51 biplane fighter in support of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Despite flying 280 missions, Galland attained no aerial victories, a rather inauspicious start for a pilot would go on to attain more than 100 aerial victories - the highest for any pilot who flew on the Western Front. During Germanys invasion of Poland, Galland was assigned to an attack squadron and he flew over fifty ground sorties. He was promoted to Captain for his efforts, but Galland was anxious to return to a fighter squadron, and he got his wish in October of 1939 when he was transferred to JG-27. It was with JG-27 that Galland first learned to fly the Bf-109. In May of 1940 JG-27 flew in support of the invasion of Belgium, and Galland achieved his first combat victory on May 12. Two months later his score had risen to more than a dozen, and at this time he was once again transferred to JG-26 situated on the Channel Coast. Engaging the RAF on a daily basis during the Battle of Britain, Gallands score rose steadily until it exceeded 40 victories by September. After a short leave Galland rejoined JG-26 in Brittany, where the squadron played a defensive role. Following Germanys invasion of Russia in June of 1941, JG-26 became one of only two German fighter squadrons left on the Channel Coast. This resulted in plenty of flying, and by late in 1941 Gallands victory totals had reached 70. Following a near brush with death when the fuel tank of his 109 exploded, Galland was grounded for a time, and sent to Berlin where he was made the General of the Fighter Arm, reporting directly to Goring and Hitler. Galland spent most of the next few years carrying out inspection tours, and was at odds with his superiors about the need for an adequate fighter defense to negate ever-increasing Allied bombing of Germanys cities. He continued to fly combat missions when the opportunity presented itself, despite Gorings orders to the contrary. In January of 1945 almost 300 fighters were lost in an all-out attack on Allied airfields in France, a mission Galland did not support. He was dismissed as General of the Fighter Arm for his insubordination, but reflecting his flying abilities Hitler ordered Galland to organize JV-44, Germanys first jet-equipped fighter squadron. By March of 1945 Galland had recruited 45 of Germanys best surviving fighter pilots, and this new squadron was given the difficult task of trying to counter the daily onslaught of 15th Air Force bombers coming at Germany from the South. Gallands final mission of the War occurred on April 26 when he attained his 102nd and 103rd confirmed aerial victories prior to crash landing his damaged Me262. Several days later the War was over for both Galland and Germany. General Galland died in 1996.

General Adolf Galland

Erich Rudorffer was born on November 1st 1917 in the town of Zwickau in Saxony.  Erich Rudorffer joined the Luftwaffes I./JG2 Richthofen in November 1939, and was soon flying combat patrols in January 1940 and was assigned to I/JG 2 Richthofen with the rank of Oberfeldwebel.  He took part in the Battle of France, scoring the first of his many victories over a French Hawk 75 on May 14th, 1940.  He went on to score eight additional victories during the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain.  Rudorffer recalled an incident in August 1940 when he escorted a badly damaged Hurricane across the Channel - ditching in the English Channel was greatly feared by pilots on both sides. As fate often does, Rudorffer found the roles reversed two weeks later, when he was escorted by an RAF fighter after receiving battle damage. By May 1st 1941 Rudorffer had achieved 19 victories, which led to the award of the Knights Cross.  In June 1941 Rodorffer became an Adjutant of II./JG2.  In 1942 Rudorffer participated in Operation Cerberus (known as the Channel Dash) and flew over the Allied landings at Dieppe.  Erich Rudorffer along with JG2 was transferred to North Africa in December 1942.  It was in North Africa that Rudorffer showed his propensity for multiple-victory sorties.  He shot down eight British aircraft in 32 minutes on February 9th 1943 and seven more in 20 minutes six days later.  After scoring a total of 26 victories in Tunisia, Rudorffer returned to France in April 1943 and was posted to command II./JG54 in Russia, after Hauptmann Heinrich Jung, its Kommodore, failed to return from a mission on July 30th 1943.  On August 24th 1943 he shot down 5 Russian aircraft on the first mission of the day and followed that up with three more victories on the second mission.  He scored seven victories in seven minutes on October 11th but his finest achievement occurred on November 6th when in the course of 17 minutes, he shot down thirteen Russian aircraft.  Rudorffer became known to Russian pilots as the fighter of Libau.  On October 28th 1944 while about to land, Rudorffer spotted a large formation of Il-2 Sturmoviks.  He quickly aborted the landing and moved to engage the Russian aircraft.  In under ten minutes, nine of the of the II-2 Sturmoviks were shot down causing the rest to disperse.  Rudorffer would later that day go on and shoot down a further two Russian aircraft.  These victories took his total to 113 and he was awarded the Oak Leaves on April 11th 1944.  Rudorffer would on the 26th January 1945 on his 210th victory receive the addition of the Swords.  In February 1945 Rudorffer took command of I./JG7 flying the Me262.  He was one of the first jet fighter aces of the war, scoring 12 victories in the Me262.  He shot down ten 4-engine bombers during the

Major Erich Rudorffer

Latest HALF PRICE Battle of Britain Artwork Releases !

  In Gerald Coulsons fine study First Light, Mk Vb Spitfires of 92 Squadron climb out of Biggin Hill at the outset of an early morning patrol on a cold winters morning in February 1941. Leaving the mist behind as the first beams of light streak across the heavens, they will turn to the east and steel themselves to meet the enemy, high in the dawn sky.

First Light by Gerald Coulson. (Y)
 Spitfires pass above a downed Me110 as they return to base at Biggin Hill in September 1940, the most intense and crucial phase of the Battle of Britain.

September Victory by Nicolas Trudgian. (Y)
A surprise dive bombing attack at 12.45pm as Spitfires of 65 squadron were taking off. 148 bombs were dropped on the airfield and hangars. The entire squadron got airborne with one exception, its engine was stopped by the blast from one of the bombs.

Battle of Britain, Manston, 12th August 1940 by Gerald Coulson. (Y)
 Hurricanes of 607 County of Durham Squadron diving down and attacking Heinkels over the Needles on the Isle of Wight, after a raid on the southern coast. 607 squadron were stationed at nearby Tangmere from the start of September 1940 and saw continuous action throughout the Battle of Britain until the 16th October, when it withdrew to Scotland having raised its total victory to 102. Also aiding in the pursuit are Spitfires of 602 City of Glasgow Squadron based at Westhampnett.

Hurricanes Over the Needles by Graeme Lothian. (YB)

 The lone Spitfire of Maurice <i>Peter</i> Brown of No.41 Sqn, single-handedly attacks a group of eight Me109s on 25th October 1940.

Into the Schwarm by Ivan Berryman. (P)
 Maurice <i>Peter</i> Brown damages a Dornier Do.17 in his 41 Squadron Spitfire on 30th September 1940.

Dorniers Demise by Ivan Berryman. (P)
 HM Stephen - one of the Battle of Britains top scoring fighter pilots, brings down two Me109s in quick succession over the White Cliffs of Dover, early on August 11, 1940. Flying a Spitfire with 74 Squadron, HM shot down five German aircraft on this day, and damaged a further three. The note in his log book starts First flap of the day at 0600 hrs ...  <br><br><b>Published 2000.<br><br>Sadly, all of the pilots who signed this edition have since passed away.</b>

First Flap of the Day by Nicolas Trudgian. (E)
 Byron Duckenfield and his 501 Squadron wingman struggle to get airborne in their Hurricanes as the spectacle of the scrambling squadron draws a group of passing motorists out of their vehicle to witness the thunderous noise of the aircraft.

501 Sqn Scramble by Ivan Berryman. (AP)

 

 

Battle of Britain History Timeline : 25th August
DAYMONTHYEARDETAILS
25August1940Belgian Battle of Britain pilot, P/O J. A. L. Phillipart of 213 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O H. D. Atkinson of 213 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O K. R. Gillman of 32 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O R. A. Rhodes of 29 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O R. M. Hogg of 152 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O T. S. Wildblood of 152 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, S/Ldr. C. W. Williams of 17 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, Sgt. A. L. Austin of 604 Squadron, Crashed (died next day).
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, Sgt. C. Haigh of 604 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, Sgt. J. G. B. Fletcher of 604 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, Sgt. N. Jacobson of 29 Squadrons, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, Sgt. R. J. Gouldstone of 29 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, Sgt. S. R. E. Wakeling of 87 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940British Battle of Britain pilot, Sgt. T. E. Westmoreland of 616 Squadron, was Killed.
25August1940Feldwebel Emil Clade of JG 27 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Feldwebel Fritz Stritzel of JG 2 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Feldwebel Karl Ebert of JG 2 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Feldwebel Konrad Carl of JG 26 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Feldwebel Max Clerico of JG 54 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Feldwebel Siegfried Göbel of ZG 76 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Feldwebel Walter Margstein of JG 53 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Feldwebel Wilhelm Müller of JG 26 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Feldwebel Wilhelm Müller of JG 26 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940German losses tthis day were 18 ME110 with a possible 6 more ME110, 20 ME109 and likely another seven ME109, Four DO17 with a possible one more DO17 one DDO215 and three JU88 with the possiblity of one more JU88, one more confiremd victory was listed aircraft type unknown, Anti Aircraft batteries shot down one bomber, type unknown
25August1940Group Captain Dennis David of No.87 Sqn RAF shot down a Ju88
25August1940Group Captain Dennis David of No.87 Sqn RAF shot down a Me109
25August1940Hauptmann Hans von Hahn of JG 53 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Hauptmann Hubertus von Bonin of JG 54 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Leutnant Alfred Zeis of JG 53 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Leutnant Ernst-Albrecht Schultz of JG 53 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Leutnant Ernst-Albrecht Schultz of JG 53 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Leutnant Jakob Stoll of JG 53 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Leutnant Josef Bürschgens of JG 26 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Leutnant Karl Helmer of ZG 76 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Leutnant Ludwig Hafer of JG 26 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Leutnant Siegfried Graf Matuschka of JG 54 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Major Adolf Galland of JG 26 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Major Hannes Trautloft of JG 54 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Major Wolfgang Schellmann of JG 2 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Number of aircraft available for service on this day was 727 with 416 Hurricanes, 233 Spitfires, 54 Blenheims, amd 18 Defiants and 6 Gladiators
25August1940Oberleutnant Carl-Hans Röders of JG 2 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Oberleutnant Ernst-Hartmann von Schlotheim of ZG 76 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Oberleutnant Gebhard Dittmar of JG 53 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Oberleutnant Günther Scholz of JG 54 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Oberleutnant Günther Schulze-Blanck of JG 53 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Oberleutnant Hans Hahn of JG 2 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Oberleutnant Hans Ohly of JG 53 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Oberleutnant Hans-Karl Mayer of JG 53 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Oberleutnant Heinz Kunert of JG 53 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Oberleutnant Helmut Wick of JG 2 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Oberleutnant Helmut Wick of JG 2 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Oberleutnant Helmut-Felix Bolz of JG 2 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Oberleutnant Karl Fischer of JG 27 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Oberleutnant Karl-Heinz Metz of JG 2 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Oberleutnant Kurt Ruppert of JG 26 shot down a Spitfire
25August1940Oberleutnant Ludwig Franzisket of JG 27 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Royal Air Force flew 150 sorties with 506 fighter flights
25August1940Royal Air Force lost 16 fighters with the loss of 10 Pilots
25August1940Spitfire K9819 Mk.Ia - Shot down near Calais. Sergeant Wareing taken prisoner.
25August1940Spitfire K9931 Mk.Ia , DW-R, - Shot down by Me109s. Pilot Officer Gardiner injured.
25August1940Spitfire N3226 Mk.Ia - Shot down by Me109 into sea near Dorchester. Sergeant Sprague parachuted to safety.
25August1940Spitfire N3268 Mk.Ia - Damaged by Do17 off St Gowans Head and force landed. Flight Lieutenant Stanford-Tuck injured.
25August1940Spitfire P9322 Mk.Ia - Damaged by Me110.
25August1940Spitfire P9381 Mk.Ia - Shot down by Me109 near Dorchester. Flying Officer Coverely parachuted to safety.
25August1940Spitfire P9451 Mk.Ia - Damaged by Me109 and crash landed at Sandwich. Pilot Officer Gardiner injured.
25August1940Spitfire R6810 Mk.Ia - Shot down by Me109 off Portland. Pilot Officer Hogg missing.
25August1940Spitfire R6966 Mk.Ia - Shot down by Me109 near Canterbury. Sergeant Westmoreland missing.
25August1940Spitfire R6969 Mk.Ia - Damaged by Me109 and force landed at Manston. Pilot Officer Shand injured.
25August1940Spitfire R6994 Mk.Ia - Shot down by Me109 off Portland. Pilot Officer Wildblood missing.
25August1940Unteroffizier Herbert Tzschoppe of JG 53 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Unteroffizier Herbert Tzschoppe of JG 53 shot down a Hurricane
25August1940Wing Commander Roland Beamont of No.87 Sqn RAF shot down a Do17
25August1940Wing Commander Roland Beamont of No.87 Sqn RAF shot down a Me109
Battle of Britain Timeline of Related Info : 25th August
DAYMONTHYEARDETAILS
25August1944Former British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O A. J. Rippon of 601 Squadron, was Killed.
25August2000Former British Battle of Britain pilot, F/O W. D. David of 87 & 213 Squadrons, Passed away.

 

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