|CLICK HERE FOR A FULL LIST OF ALL BATTLE OF BRITAIN PRINTS BY TITLE|
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.
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|Spitfire Battle of Britain Aviation Art Prints, Paintings and Drawings|
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|Top Aces for : Spitfire|
|A list of all Aces from our database who are known to have flown this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking the pilots name.|
|James E Johnnie Johnson||36.91||The signature of James E Johnnie Johnson features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Adolf Gysbert Malam||35.00|
|Brendon E Paddy Finucane||32.00|
|George Frederick Beurling||31.50|
|Robert Stanford-Tuck||29.00||The signature of Robert Stanford-Tuck features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|James Harry Ginger Lacey||28.00||The signature of James Harry Ginger Lacey features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Neville F Duke||28.00||The signature of Neville F Duke features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Francis S Gabreski||28.00||The signature of Francis S Gabreski features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Colin Falkland Gray||27.50|
|Eric Stanley Lock||26.50|
|Pierre H Closterman||26.00||The signature of Pierre H Closterman features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Lance C Wade||25.00|
|Douglas Bader||23.00||The signature of Douglas Bader features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Don E Kingaby||23.00||The signature of Don E Kingaby features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Harbourne M Stephen||22.50||The signature of Harbourne M Stephen features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Alan Christopher Deere||22.00||The signature of Alan Christopher Deere features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Evan Dall Mackie||21.50|
|Archibald Ashmore Archie McKellar||21.00|
|James E Rankin||21.00|
|Raymond Hiley Harries||20.00|
|John Cunningham||20.00||The signature of John Cunningham features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Dominic S Gentile||19.83|
|Duane W Beeson||19.33|
|James S Varnell Jr||17.00|
|W G G Duncan-Smith||17.00||The signature of W G G Duncan-Smith features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|James Francis Edwards||16.50||The signature of James Francis Edwards features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|R N Baker||16.50|
|Agorastos John Plagis||16.00|
|Brian John George Carbury||15.50|
|Donald James Mathew Blakeslee||15.50||The signature of Donald James Mathew Blakeslee features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Ian Richard Gleed||15.00|
|Peter Malam Brothers||15.00||The signature of Peter Malam Brothers features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Robert Francis Thomas Doe||15.00||The signature of Robert Francis Thomas Doe features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|James A Goodson||15.00||The signature of James A Goodson features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Samuel J Brown||15.00|
|Archie Glenn Donahue||14.00||The signature of Archie Glenn Donahue features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Robert C Curtis||14.00||The signature of Robert C Curtis features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Tom Neil||14.00||The signature of Tom Neil features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|John Connell Freeborn||13.50||The signature of John Connell Freeborn features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Claude Weaver III||13.50|
|Roderick Illingworth Alpine Smith||13.20||The signature of Roderick Illingworth Alpine Smith features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|John Donald Rae||13.00||The signature of John Donald Rae features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|James L Brooks||13.00||The signature of James L Brooks features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|John J Lynch||13.00|
|Tony Gaze||12.50||The signature of Tony Gaze features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|David C Fairbanks||12.50|
|Alan Geoffrey Page||12.50||The signature of Alan Geoffrey Page features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Howard D Hively||12.00|
|Pierce W McKennon||12.00|
|James Averell Clark Jr||11.50|
|George Harman Ben Bennions||11.00||The signature of George Harman Ben Bennions features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Hugh Spencer Leslie Dundas||11.00||The signature of Hugh Spencer Leslie Dundas features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Charles Milton McCorkle||11.00|
|John B Lawler||11.00|
|Leland P Molland||11.00|
|Norman L McDonald||11.00|
|Robert J Goebel||11.00||The signature of Robert J Goebel features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Bobby Gibbes||10.50||The signature of Bobby Gibbes features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Richard Joseph Audet||10.50|
|George C Grumpy Unwin||10.00||The signature of George C Grumpy Unwin features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Albert Ulrich Houle||10.00||The signature of Albert Ulrich Houle features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Michael Gladych||10.00||The signature of Michael Gladych features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Spiros N Pisanos||10.00||The signature of Spiros N Pisanos features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Arthur G Johnson Jr||8.50|
|Carroll W McColpin||8.00||The signature of Carroll W McColpin features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Dale E Shafer||8.00|
|James O Tyler||8.00|
|J M Ainley||8.00|
|John Bisdee||8.00||The signature of John Bisdee features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Paul Farnes||8.00||The signature of Paul Farnes features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Wallace 'Jock' Cunningham||8.00||The signature of Wallace 'Jock' Cunningham features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|James Douglas Lindsay||7.00||The signature of James Douglas Lindsay features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Arnold E Vinson||7.00|
|Carl W Payne||7.00|
|Chesley G Peterson||7.00|
|Daniel J Zoerb||7.00|
|Frank A Hill||7.00|
|Gregory A Daymond||7.00|
|John Harvey Curry||7.00|
|Murry D McLaughlin||7.00|
|Reade Franklin Tilley||7.00||The signature of Reade Franklin Tilley features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Ripley Ogden Jones||7.00|
|Bob Foster||7.00||The signature of Bob Foster features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Wilf Sizer||7.00||The signature of Wilf Sizer features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Richard F Hurd||6.09|
|Fred F Ohr||6.00|
|Henry L Mills||6.00|
|James Eldridge Peck||6.00|
|J D Collinsworth||6.00||The signature of J D Collinsworth features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Lewis W Chick Jr||6.00|
|Merriwell W Vineyard||6.00|
|Raymond C Care||6.00|
|Raymond F Harmeyer||6.00|
|Roy William Evans||6.00|
|William J Dillard||6.00|
|William R Dunn||6.00|
|D M Pieri||6.00|
|Basil Gerald 'Stapme' Stapleton||6.00||The signature of Basil Gerald 'Stapme' Stapleton features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Frederick O Trafton Jr||5.50|
|Joseph P Lynch||5.50|
|Oscar Hoffman Coen||5.50||The signature of Oscar Hoffman Coen features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Keith Ashley Lawrence||5.00||The signature of Keith Ashley Lawrence features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Harrison R Thyng||5.00|
|Arthur B Cleaveland||5.00|
|Charles R Fischette||5.00||The signature of Charles R Fischette features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|David C Wilhelm||5.00|
|Edward L Gimbel||5.00|
|George G Loving Jr||5.00||The signature of George G Loving Jr features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Jackson B Mahon||5.00|
|James E Peck||5.00|
|James W Empey||5.00|
|John H White||5.00|
|Kenneth G Smith||5.00|
|Richard D Faxon||5.00|
|Richard L Alexander||5.00|
|Selden E Edner||5.00|
|Virgil C Fields Jr||5.00|
|V N Cabas||5.00|
|P G Johnson||5.00|
|H P M Zary||5.00|
|R L Burnett III||5.00|
|J N Thorne||5.00|
|J A Carey||4.50|
|R M Davenport||4.50|
|M K Fletcher||4.50|
|J E Butler||4.50|
|J A Adams||4.50|
|J Aitken Jr||4.50|
|J A Jacobs||4.50|
|V J France||4.50|
|V H Wynn||4.00|
|M G H McPharlin||3.00|
|W J Daley||2.50|
|Signatures for : Spitfire|
|A list of all signatures from our database who are associated with this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking their name.|
Captain Luke Allen
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Captain Luke Allen
| Captain Luke Allen |
Volunteering for the RAF just as the Battle of Britain was reaching its climax, Luke joined 71 Eagle Squadron, flying his first combat operation in April 1941 on Hurricanes. Converting to Spitfires the squadron had a busy period of patrols, sweeps and escorts before transferring to the USAAF as the 334th Fighter Squadron. Luke flew over 60 combat missions in Europe.
Flight Lieutenant Peter Allen
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Peter Allen
| Flight Lieutenant Peter Allen |
Completing his pilot training at No.1 OTU in Canada, he was assigned to 54 Sqn on Spitfires which had been relocated from Britain to Darwin, Northern Australia in 1943. The squadron carried out Air Defence patrols against Japanese aircraft and high-level reconnaissance flights.
Captain Murray Anderson DFC*
Click the name above to see prints signed by Captain Murray Anderson DFC*
| Captain Murray Anderson DFC* |
Commissioned in the Royal Tank Regiment from RMA Woolwich in 1939, Murray Anderson was seconded to the Royal Air Force in 1940. He flew Spitfires with No.1 Photo Reconnaissance Unit at RAF Benson until 1943. He then joined 161 (Special Duties) Squadron flying Lysanders, and was the most successful pick up pilot for the whole of that year even though in May 1944 he was posted to 65 Squadron 2nd Tactical Air Force, flying Mustangs. After a rest period he was posted to 52 Sqn at Dum Dum in May 1945.
Flight Lieutenant Alexander N R L Appleford
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Alexander N R L Appleford
| Flight Lieutenant Alexander N R L Appleford |
Born in September 1921, Robin Appleford was one of the youngest pilots to take part in the Battle of Britain. He joined 66 Squadron at Duxford on 13th May 1940, flying Spitfires. He was shot down over the Thames Estuary during a dogfight on 4th September 1940, but baled out slightly wounded. After a spell as an instructor, in 1943 he flew another combat tour, this time with 274 Squadron, flying Hurricanes on coastal defence in North Africa. After a spell with the Aircraft Delivery Unit, he went to South Africa as a flying instructor. Sadly, we have learned that Alexander Appleford passed away on 17th April 2012.
Flight Lieutenant Peter Arkell
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Peter Arkell
| Flight Lieutenant Peter Arkell |
For his first tour Peter flew Mustangs and Spitfires with 26 Squadron on intruder and low lever photographic sorties over France, before joining 161 Squadron as Tempsford in 1944, flying Lysanders into occupied Europe. He then accompanied the Lysanders to Burma where he flew 35 successful but hazardous missions supplying Force 136 behind the Japanese lines. He was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1997 for his work as chairman of the Anglo-American community relations committee at RAF Fairford. Peter Arkell passed away on 27th August 2010.
Flight Lieutenant William Tex Ash
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant William Tex Ash
| Flight Lieutenant William Tex Ash |
Volunteer American pilot Bill Ash joined the RCAF and flew Spitfires with 411 Squadron gaining 3 confirmed victories. Shot down in 1942 he became a POW and was sent to Stalag Luft III where he took part in The Great Escape, and later was involved in more than a dozen escape attempts from POW camps in Poland, Germany and Lithuania. A constant trouble maker to his captors, Bill Ash became a real life Cooler King after many hours spent in solitary captivity.
Wing Commander Peter V Ayerst DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Wing Commander Peter V Ayerst DFC
| Wing Commander Peter V Ayerst DFC |
Peter Ayerst joined the RAF in 1938, and was posted to 73 Squadron in August 1939, flying Hurricanes. He went to France with the squadron, scoring his first victory in April 1940. After a spell instructing, when he shared in the destruction of a He111 with two other instructors, he had postings with both 145 and 243 Squadrons. In July 1942 he went to 33 Squadron, before promotion to flight commander with 238 Squadron, both postings with further combat success. After a period in South Africa, he returned to the UK, joining 124 Squadron flying Spitfire MkVIIs in defence of the invasion ports, where he scored his final victory; then flew Spitfire MkIXs on bomber escorts to Germany. He later became a Spitfire test pilot at Castle Bromwich. Peter finished the war not only a brilliant fighter Ace, but also one of the most highly regarded wartime instructors in the RAF. His final victory tally stood at 5 destroyed, 1 probable, 3 damaged and 2 further destroyed on the ground.
Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader CBE, DSO*, DFC*
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader CBE, DSO*, DFC*
| Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader CBE, DSO*, DFC* |
One of the most famous fighter aces of World War Two, Douglas Bader joined the RAF in 1928. A fearless aerobatic flyer, his luck ran out when his aircraft crashed attempting a slow roll. He lost both legs, and his career in the RAF was, for the time being, over. At the outbreak of World War Two however, his persistence persuaded the RAF to let him fly again, this time with artificial legs. Joining 19 Squadron in February 1940, he soon scored his first victory. A brilliant fighter leader, he was given command of 242 Squadron - and led them throughout the Battle of Britain. Posted to Tangmere in 1941 Bader was one of the first Wing Leaders. Baders luck again ran out on August 9th 1941, when he was brought down over St Omer, France. Bader was taken prisoner, ending up in Colditz for the rest of the war. He scored 20 and shared 4 victories.
Sqdn Ldr H C Baker
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Sqdn Ldr H C Baker
| Sqdn Ldr H C Baker |
Just one month before the Battle began, Henry Butch Baker had already seen fierce fighting over Dunkirk where he shot down one German aircraft and damaged another. After surviving a car accident, he joined 41 Squadron on September 15 – viewed by many as Battle of Britain Day – when 17 squadrons fought off a major attack. Flew Spitfires and helped destroy seven Messerschmitts in the Battle.
Air Marshall Sir Alfred (Freddy) Ball, KCB DSO DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Air Marshall Sir Alfred (Freddy) Ball, KCB DSO DFC
| Air Marshall Sir Alfred (Freddy) Ball, KCB DSO DFC |
Air Marshall Sir Alfred (Freddy) Ball, KCB DSO DFC attended RAF College, Cranwell in 1939 and joined 13 Squadron in France in March 1940 on Lysanders (Army Co-operation). He joined No 1 PRU Benson early in 1941 on Spitfires. He commanded 4 PRU (later 682 Sqdn) as Squadron Leader in October 1942 and flew out to North Africa for Operation Torch, the Allied landings, flying Spitfires. He was posted to the UK as CF1, 8PR, OTU Dyce, Aberdeen in September 1943 and took over 542 Sqdn Benson in March 1944 (PR Spitfire Mk XIs and Mk XIXs). In September he was promoted to Wing Commander and given command of No 540 Squadron flying Mosquito 16s and 32s. The Squadron moved to France early in 1945 to support the Allied armies. In December, Freddy was posted to Egypt to take command of No 680 PR Sqdn (later to become 13 Sqdn), flying Mosquitoes and Spitfires. He was posted to Staff AHQ East Africa in 1946 and retired from the RAF in April 1979.
Squadron Leader Cyril Bam Bamberger
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Squadron Leader Cyril Bam Bamberger
| Squadron Leader Cyril Bam Bamberger |
Born in Port Sunlight on May 4th 1919, Cyril Bamberger won an electrical engineering apprenticeship at Lever Brothers in 1934. He joined 610 Squadron AuxAF, in 1936 on the ground staff. Accepted for pilot training with the RAF VR in late 1938, he soloed in mid 1939. Bamberger was called up at the outbreak of war and on the 23rd October 1939 was posted to No 8 EFTS, Woodley and later went to 9 FTS, Hullavington to complete his training. He rejoined 610 (F) Squadron at Biggin Hill on July 27th but with no experience on Spitfires, he was sent to Hawarden for three weeks. Back with 610 (F) Squadron, Bamberger claimed a probable Bf109 on August 28th 1940. He was posted to 41 (F) Squadron at Hornchurch, Essex, September 17th and on October 5th he claimed a Bf109 destroyed. After volunteering for Malta, Bamberger left 41 (F) Squadron in mid-October 1940. He sailed from Glasgow on the Aircraft Carrier HMS Argus. Luckily for him, he did not fly off for Malta with the twelve Hurricanes ad two navigating Skuas which did. Only five of the fourteen aircraft reached their destination. Bamberger eventually reached Malta on November 28th on the destroyer HMS Hotspur, and on arrival he joined 261 Squadron. On January 18th 1941 he destroyed a Junkers JU87 Stuka and another the following day. 261 Squadron was dispended on May 21st 1941. Bamberger moved on the 12th to the newly formed 185 (F) Squadron at Hal Far. He was posted back to England on June 12th and was sent to Central Gunnery School at Sutton Bridge. Commissioned in February 1942, he was posted to Northern Ireland as a Gunnery Officer with the Americans who were converting to Spitfires. In March 1943 Bamberger volunteered for North Africa where he joined 93 Squadron at Hal Far, Malta in May. On July 13th operating over Sicily, he shot down a Junkers JU87 Stuka. In August Bamberger joined 243 Squadron in Sicily as a Flight Commander. He was awarded the DFC (28.09.43). On October 16th Bamberger damaged a Bf109, his first success after 243 crossed into Italy. On May 25th 1944 he claimed a Bf109 destroyed and on June 15th a Macci 202 damaged. Bamberger came off operations in July for medical reasons returning to the UK. He was sent on an instructors course and in early 1945 was posted to the Gunnery School at Catfoss. Awarded a bar to his DFC (14.11.44). Bamberger received it from the King at Buckingham Palace on July 3rd 1945. Released in 1946, Bamberger returned to Lever Brothers and rejoined 610 Squadron at Hooten Park, becoming its CO in 1950. When the Korean crisis came, he was recalled to the RAF. In February 1951 he was granted a permanent commission and in May 1952 moved to an Intelligence Unit, assessing strike capabilities of the Chinese and Koreans. Bamberger retired on January 29th 1959 as a Squadron Leader, and became managing director of a small packaging materials company – he started in 1954. On retirement he had an antique shop in Hampshire. Sadly, Cyril Bamberger passed away on 3rd February 2008.
Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC
| Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC |
At the outbreak of war Paddy flew obsolete Hinds, Hectors and Lysanders in combat, but converted to Spitfires and joined 602 Squadron at Tangmere. During the Battle of Britain he flew with some of the great aces - Douglas Bader, Sailor Malan, and Bob Stanford Tuck. In 1941 he was a Flight Commander with 610 Squadron. Continuing to fly Spitfires, now with 122 Squadron based at Hornchurch, he flew fighter sweeps and escort missions. On 17th May 1942 he was shot down over St Omer. He baled out but was captured, spending the next three years as a POW. One of the RAFs best known and best loved characters, though the bane of certain senior officers, Paddy Barthropps RAF service spanned the period from bi-planes to supersonic jets. Joining the RAF in 1938, his first squadron was 613 flying Hinds, Hectors and Lysanders. In 1940 he was released to fly Spitfires with 602 Squadron where he shared in the destruction of two aircraft. He was posted to 610 Squadron, and then to 91 Squadron, shooting down two Bf 109s during summer 1941 and receiving the DFC. In August 1941 he returned to 610 Squadron as a flight commander. He was shot down three times, the third time being taken prisoner ofwar. He had by then brought his total to 9. Scraps in the air were accompanied by scrapes on the ground, and appearances in Magistrates Courts for disorderly conduct. Addicted to fast cars and lively ladies - and the sworn enemy of stuffed shirts everywhere - he was the irrepressible life and soul of any party, and a persistant thorn in the side of overweening authority as the Germans were to discover. The war over, he was posted to the Empire Test Pilots School where he flew over a hundred different types of plane in ten months. Soon, he was out in the Sudan and in serious trouble again - under arrest after taking a hippo to an upper-crust party. As a boy, he had been taught to ride by champion jockey Steve Donaghue and now, posted to Hong Kong, he rode winners on the track at Happy Valley, and seriously thought of turning professional. Then it was back to the U.K. to take up an appointment as a Fighter Station Commander, and to lead the Coronation fly-past over Buckingham Palace. He left the RAF to set up his own luxury car-hire firm. He died on 16th April 2008.
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Raymond Baxter
| Raymond Baxter |
Spitfire pilot, and the voice of British aviation broadcasting. Raymond Baxter was born on January 25, 1922 in Ilford, Essex. In 1940 at the age of 18, Baxter joined the Royal Air Force and became a Spitfire pilot with the celebrated 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron, rising to the rank of Flight Lieutenant and being mentioned in despatches for his part in Operation Big Ben, when six of 602s Spitfires, converted to carry small bombs, attacked the Bataafsche petrol company in Holland to try to wipe out the headquarters of the German V2 rocket forces, which were the plague of London at the time. Baxter was also twice mentioned in despatches. In 1945 Baxter joined Forces Broadcasting in Cairo. After the war he was deputy director of the British Forces Network in Hamburg and went on to the BBC. Raymond Baxter is probabaly best known for being in the Tomorrows World TV series which he was involved with since the beginning in 1965. Raymond Baxter stayed with Tomorrows World for 12 years. A regular participant in the Monte Carlo Rally — he competed in no fewer than 14 of them — he showed his professionalism in the 1954 event when the car in which he was travelling skidded into a ditch in central France. Although shaken by the incident and sustaining a cut over his eye, Baxter immediately recorded a description of what had happened. On three occasions he was a member of a winning rally team. He was also an accomplished Formula 1 commentator. Baxter would also commentate at many major historical moments, the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill and Lord Mountbatten of Burma, the 1953 Coronation and the the annual Festival of Remembrance. He also commentated at many aviation events and also is know for his commentary for Concorde's first flight. A favourite recreation was boating. He served on the management committee of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and was vice-president from 1987 to 1997. As honorary admiral of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships he took a prominent part in events to mark the 60th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation in June 2000. Baxter was appointed OBE in 2003. Sadly Raymond Baxter died on September 15, 2006, aged 84.
Squadron Leader Percival H. Beake DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Percival H. Beake DFC
| Squadron Leader Percival H. Beake DFC |
Joining the RAFVR in April 1939, Percival Beake was mobilised at the outbreak of war. Posted to 64 Squadron on Spitfires in the summer of 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain, he flew with them until June 1941 when he was posted first to 92 Squadron at Biggin Hill, and then 601 Squadron at Duxford. After a spell instructing he returned for his second tour in December 1942, joining 193 Squadron as a Flight Commander. In May 1944 he took command of 164 Squadron at Thorney Island flying Typhoons, moving to France shortly after the Normandy Invasion. With two victories to his credit he was awarded the DFC in September 1944.
Starting with 6th August 1944 my log book records that a successful attack was carried out on an enemy strong point in a quarry and that on the following morning I flew home on a very rare 48 hour leave. For a few days after my return we had only one specific target - an enemy dump which we effectively bombarded with rockets on 11th August - so we were deployed on armed reconnaissances. After landing from one of these on 13th August my Wing Commander, Walter Dring, called me to his caravan and said - Beaky, you have just done your last op. You are not to fly again and that is an order, until returning to the UK. I am arranging for your relief as soon as possible. - I was absolutely stunned and my lasting memory of that period is not of carnage but of acute embarrassment at having been grounded. I just hated sending the squadron up without myself leading and remember making frequent calls to the met office hoping to get forecasts of filthy weather that would make operational flying impossible. In the event, my relief, Squadron Leader Ian Waddy, was shot down by flak within two or three days of taking over command, so maybe Wally Dring had some sort of premonition that prompted my grounding.
Squadron Leader Robert Beardsley DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Robert Beardsley DFC
| Squadron Leader Robert Beardsley DFC |
An RAFVR pilot, joining 610 Squadron at Biggin Hill at the peak of the Battle of Britain, in August 1940, Beardsley had three confirmed victories before the end of the Battle. Posted to 41 Squadron, Beardsley spent months with the Tangmere Wing in 1941, remembering Bader for his determination to operate the wing on every possible occasion and his calmness of the radio which compared favourably with some other Wing Leaders. Commissioned in June 1941, Beardsley remained with 41 Squadron until November. After a period instructing, he went to North Africa with 93 Squadron, covering the Allied invasion. After D-Day he went to France with 222 Squadron on Spitfires. Beardsley left the RAF in 1945 but rejoined in 1949, flying Meteors with 74 Squadron.
Squadron Leader Ben Bennions DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Squadron Leader Ben Bennions DFC
| Squadron Leader Ben Bennions DFC |
Ben Bennions joined the RAF in 1929 and after pilot training he was posted to 41 Squadron. He was already a seasoned Spitfire pilot by the outbreak of World War Two. During the Battle of Britain he destroyed 12 enemy aircraft and 5 probables before being shot down on October 1st 1940. Ben baled out, and badly wounded with one eye destroyed and serious head injuries underwent plastic surgery by Archie McIndoe. He is the sole surviving Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot who is both a member of the Caterpillar Club (using silk parachutes) and a founder member of the Guinea Pig Club (those who underwent plastic surgery) Ben Bennions died 30th January 2004.
Flight Lieutenant Jack Biggs
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Jack Biggs
| Flight Lieutenant Jack Biggs |
Serving with 17 Sqn on Hurricanes he then transferred to Spitfires flying on the Burma front from March 1944 until the end of September 1945 as air cover for the planned invasion on Malaya which, as a result of the Nuclear attacks on the Japanese Empire, never happened.
Group Captain John Bisdee OBE DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Group Captain John Bisdee OBE DFC
| Group Captain John Bisdee OBE DFC |
John Derek Bisdee was born on November 20th 1915 at Weston-Super-Mare, and educated at Marlborough. He joined the RAF Voluntary Reserve, and began the war as a sergeant pilot. His combat career started while with 609 (West Riding) squadron RAAF, flying Spitfires when the squadron was moved from Edinburgh to Drem in December 1939. They participated in the air cover of the evacuation of the BEF form Dunkirk. John Bisdee destroyed six aircraft between July 1940 and July 1941, including an Me110 during an eventful day n August 1940 when they attacked a strong Luftwaffe force of 45 JU88s escorted by many Me109s and Me110s. In July 1941 he became instructor at No 61 Operational training unit. While here he had a small speaking roll in the classic wartime film The First of the Few. John Bisdee became commander of 601 (County of London) auxiliary Spitfire squadron and embarked (along with 603 (Edinburgh) Squadron) for Malta on board the US carrier Wasp. While off Algiers 47 Spitfires took of for Malta. and almost immedniatly upon arriving took part in combat. John Bisdee shot down JU88. He himself had to bail out. with a damaged parachute dangling by one leg, he had to disentangle himself as he fell, managing just in time and landing in the sea, paddling his way 6 miles in his dinghy to Malta. in June 1942 the squadron went to Egypt. In August John Bisdee became flight training officer at the Middle East Headquarters, Cairo, moving in 1943 as Wing Commander for day fighters in Tunisia. In July 1943, after the capture of the island of Lampedusa, halfway between Malta and Sicily, Bisdee was appointed its governor - the first governor in liberated Europe, as he liked to claim. Returning to North Africa, Bisdee trained Free French pilots at Bone. Later, after a brief spell in Corsica, he commanded No 322 Wing at Bone. In 322 Wing wre three Spitfire squadrons, a Beaufighter Squadron a Wellington Squadon used in anti shipping role and an Air Sea Rescue unit. Group Captain John Bisdee left the Royal Air Force in 1945 with his offcial score of 8 but it is likely there were a few others. Sadly John Bidee died at the age of 84 on the 21st October 2000. Group Captain John Bisdee was awarded the DFC in 1941 and appointed OBE in 1943.
Flying Officer Arthur Bishop RCAF
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Flying Officer Arthur Bishop RCAF
| Flying Officer Arthur Bishop RCAF |
Arthur Bishop is the son of Billy Bishop VC, perhaps the most famous of all the First World War Canadian Aces. Arthur joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941. Arriving in England he joined 401 Squadron RCAF flying Spitfires as part of 83 Group in the then recently formed 2nd TAF. After D-Day the Squadron was based in France, where he continued intensive flying. After the war he became a distinguished Canadian author, whose books include The Splendid Hundred - the story of Canadians who flew in the Battle of Britain.
Flight Lieutenant John Bisley
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant John Bisley
| Flight Lieutenant John Bisley |
Fl Lt John Bisley DFC Royal Australian Air Force, fighter pilot joined the RAAF in 1940 and was posted to England where he joined 122 Sqn RAF. On 29 March 1942 he flew a Spitfire off HMS Eagle and landed at Malta as part of operation Picket II. On 5 April 1942 Plt Off John Bisley was flying one of three Mk VB Spitfires of 126 Sqn RAF who intercepted 100 German aircraft attacking Malta. He was then attacked by 12 Me109s from JG-53 who took it in turns to attack two at a time to try and shoot him down and he was hit by 55 cannon shells. Fl Lt John Bisley DFC said I would flick the aircraft over, standing it on its wingtip just 5 or 10 feet above the water and pulll into a tight turn go part way then flick back the other way. He then made a wheels up landing at Ta Kali and watched from a slit trench as two of the 109s then strafed what was left of his Spitfire. This was the intense aerial air battles over Valetta in April 1942. Between the summer of 1940 and the end of 1942, Malta became one of the most bombed places on earth. The RAFs desperate fight to retain control of the diminutive Mediterranean island, and the defiant courage of the people of Malta, is one of the epic stories of World War Two. Bisley was awareded the DFC on the 7th July 1942. From April to early July, Bisley shot down a Junkers Ju88, a Ju87, two Me109s a Macchi MC202 and a half share in a Savoia-Marchetti SM.84. He returned back the England and then to Australia in August 1942 joinming 452 Sqn in Darwin flying Spitfire MKVs. On 20 June 1943, Flight Lieutenant John Henry Eric Bisley (402720) shot down a Nakajima KI-49 (Helen) (Squadron Leader R. S. MacDonald, and Flight Lieutenant D. Evans also each shot down a Japanese Helen or Sally.) John Bisley became a test and ferry pilot from 1944 and then a instructor at the Central Flying School. He left the Ryal Australian Air Force in August 1945 and after the war established an import export business.
Squadron Leader Ian Blair DFM
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Ian Blair DFM
| Squadron Leader Ian Blair DFM |
Ian Blair joined 113 Squadron in 1938 as a AC1/Armourer AG. on Hawker Hind and later Blenheim Mk 1s. He took part in the heavy fighting of the first Lybian campaign. He was forced to take control and fly the Blenheim airceaft after his pilot was killed following an attack by an Italian Fiat CR 42. Remarkably he managed not only to evade the enemy aircraft, but fly to fly the Blenheim 350 miles back to his base where he made a succesful textbook landing. This extraordinary action earned him the award of an immediate DFM. The experience led him to train as a pilot at No 4 SFTS RAF Habbaniya, where the No 6 War Course were heavily engaged in operations to raize the siege of the base from the Iraqi Army. He was finally awarded his wings in May 1941. On return to the UK he served with 501 Squadron on combat duties on Spitfire Mk V's until injured as a result of enemy action. On return to flying duties he was posted to 602 Squadron flying MkV's and MkIX's until June 1944. In February 1944, he claimed a high altitude victory by destroying a Me.109 F at an altitude of 35,000 feet, flying a Spitfire Mk.VII H.F.
Colonel Don Blakeslee
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Colonel Don Blakeslee
| Colonel Don Blakeslee |
Joining the RAF in 1940 Don Blakeslee flew Spitfires with 401 Squadron. When the Eagle Squadron were formed he transferred as an experienced flight commander with several victories to his credit. An aggressive and fearless fighter pilot, Blakeslee was promoted to lead 133 Squadron, and was described as the best fighter leader the war produced. Already an Ace, he transferred to the USAAF 4th Fighter Group. By the war end he had over four years of continuous combat flying, and 14.5 air victories to his credit. Colonel Don Blakeslee sadly passed away on 3rd September 2008.
Squadron Leader Peter Booth-Jones DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Peter Booth-Jones DFC
| Squadron Leader Peter Booth-Jones DFC |
Joined the RAAF in January 1941. After initial training in Australia, gained his wings and graduated as a Pilot Officer in Canada. Peter was posted to 58 OTU in the UK and converted to Spitfires, then posted to 118 Sqn at Ibsley until March 1942. He then returned to Australia and joined 75 Sqn in Juner 1942. Flying Kittyhawks Peter took part in the Battle of Milne Bay and on 27th August, he and Flt Lt Bruce Watson attacked 3 Val Dive Bombers over the Bay. They were credited with sharing 1 destroyed, 1 probable and 1 damaged. On 27th November he flew S A29-133 on a scramble from Cairns and again on 1st December. He was posted as an instructor to 2 OTU Mildura until September 1944. Sqn Ldr Jones was posted as CO to 76 Sqn based at Noemfoor, then Morotai, Sanga Sanga and Labuan until the end of the war.
Flying Officer Arthur H Brace
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flying Officer Arthur H Brace
| Flying Officer Arthur H Brace |
Flying Officer Arthur H Brace joined the RAF in 1941. After pre-elementary training he went to Canada for flying training, in Neepawa and Moosejaw, gaining his wings in Oct 1942. Arthur then went on to General Reconnaissance School on Prince Edward Island. On return to the UK he completed an Operational Training course at Dyce, Scotland, and was posted to Benson in Sept 1943, where, whilst awaiting posting to a PR squadron, he joined No 309 FT & ADU which was concerned with supplying the latest marks of PR Spitfires to our overseas Squadrons; during this time Arthur ferried aircraft to Italy and India. He joined No 542 PR Squadron in August 1944 and remained with it until August 1945. He then spent a short time with Meteological Squadron no 519 before being posted to No 16 Squadron, BAFO, stationed at Celle, Germany where injuries incurred in a road accident in March 1946 put paid to any further flying. he left the RAF in August 1946.
Lieutenant John Bradshaw
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| Lieutenant John Bradshaw |
Volunteering to fly with the RAF, John Bradshaw flew Spitfires with 41 Squadron. An experienced pilot, he transferred to the USAAF in 1943 and was immediately posted to the 56th Fighter Group, flying with the 63rd Fighter Squadron. He flew a total of 126 combat missions, flew on D-Dat, belly-landed twice in Holland, and downed 1.5 enemy aircraft.
Captain Richard Braley
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Captain Richard Braley
| Captain Richard Braley |
Richard Braley joined the Royal Air Force as a volunteer in March, 1942. He flew Spitfires with 64 Squadron before being personally recruited by by General McColpin to join 133 Squadron - the third Eagle squadron to be formed by the RAF. On September 12, 1942, the Eagle Squadrons were transferred to the USAAF and activated as the 4th Figher Group. Richard Braley was one of the squadron P-51 strafing experts - attacking and destroying numerous trains, a bridge and an electrical plant. He flew over 210 combat missions, first in Spitfires, then in P-47s and P-51s - including 3 missions as Flight Commander of 336 Squadron on D-Day.
Flt. Lt. Peter G Brearley DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flt. Lt. Peter G Brearley DFC
| Flt. Lt. Peter G Brearley DFC |
Flt. Lt. Peter G Brearley DFC joined the RAF in 1941 from Cambridge University Air Sqn. He obtained his Wings in 1942, and then completed a navigation course at 3 School of General Reconnaissance and after OTU in Novembe 1942 Peter G Brearley was posted to 140 Squadron, Army Co-op Command, later Fighter Command, then Tactical Air Force. At first equipped with P.R Spitfires then P.R Mosquitoes. A Photographic Reconnaissance unit dedicated to the Army Intelligence, making a revising maps for the coming invasion, beach gradients for troop landings and photo targets relevant to that operation. Also coverage of flying bomb sites to enable No. 2 Group (Boston & Mitchell medium bombers), stationed on the same airfield to carry out bombing raids to minimise the V1 threat. V2s were launched from mobile lorries so we attacked when seen by fighter-bombers. At first Peter flew Spitfires and later Mosquitoes with F/O Leslie W Preston GM as navigator Flt. Lt Peter G Brearley was awarded the D.F.C in August 1944, presented by H.M. George VI at Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh: - Citation - This Officer has shown great keenness and ability and can always be relied upon to complete his allocated task. He has made a great number of high level photographic sorties, often through most adverse weather, but his results have always been of the highest order. His Squadron started at Mount Farm, near Benson, Oxon, then moved to Hartford Bridge, Hants, re-named Blackbushe, and finally to Northolt after which he left in May 1944. Flt. Lt. Peter G Brearley DFC finished his RAF service as a flying instructor on Mosquitoes when he was sent as a flying instructor to 132 O.T.U, RAF East Fortune, East Lothian. They were the vanguard in converting the Beaufighter squadrons operating from RAF Banff on the Mosquito. As Beaufighters were phased out the O.T.U used Mosquitos entirely. The unit moved to RAF Brawdy for three months in 1945 during which time VE-Day came. Flt. Lt. Peter G Brearley DFC unit then moved back to RAF East Fortune awaiting demob. He had a short spell March to April 1946 at RAF Tain with Coastal Command Instructors School until it closed, after which he was sent back to East Fortune. Flt. Lt. Peter G Brearley DFC was demobbed in August 1946.
Captain Jim Brooks
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Captain Jim Brooks
| Captain Jim Brooks |
Jim Brooks joined the 31st Fighter Group in Italy in early 1944, flying the P51 against Me109s, Fw190s, and the Italian Macchi Mc202. He scored his first victory on a mission to Ploesti. Later, leading the 307th Fighter Squadron on a Russian shuttle mission, they engaged a large formation of Ju87 Stukas, shooting down 27 enemy aircraft, Jim Brooks accounting for three of them. He ended his tour with 280 combat hours, and 13 confirmed victories.
Air Commodore Peter Brothers CBE, DSO, DFC*
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Air Commodore Peter Brothers CBE, DSO, DFC*
| Air Commodore Peter Brothers CBE, DSO, DFC* |
Learnt to fly at the age of 16 and joined the RAF two years later in 1936. He first saw action in 1940 when as a Flight Commander in 32 Squadron, based at Biggin Hill, he flew his Hurricane against the fighters and bombers of the Luftwaffe. He recalls this as an intensely busy period, during which he shot down an Me109 - his first enemy aircraft; by the end of August that same year his tally of enemy aircraft shot down increased to eight. Awarded the DFC, he was transferred to 257 Squadron where he joined Bob-Stanford Tuck as a Flight Commander. Promoted in 1941 to Squadron Leader, Pete Brothers then took command of 457 Squadron RAAF, equipped with Spitfires. A year later when 457 Squadron returned to Australia, Pete took command of 602 Squadron. In the early autumn of 1942 he went on to become Wing Leader of the Tangmere Wing, succeeding his old friend, Douglas Bader. By the end of the war Pete Brothers had amassed 875 operational hours over a 44-month period. He was credited with having personally shot down 16 enemy aircraft and damaged many more. He later went on to command 57 Squadron during the Malaya campaign. Upon return to the UK Pete Brothers joined the V-Force, flying Valiant-4 jet bombers. He retired in 1973. Sadly, Pete Brothers died 18th December 2008.
Flight Lieutenant Bernard W Brown
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Bernard W Brown
| Flight Lieutenant Bernard W Brown |
Flight Lieutenant Bernard Walter Brown was accepted for a short service commission in 1938, and after being accepted arrived in England in September, training at 5 E&RFTS, Hanworth and in late January 1939 he was posted to 5FTS, Sealand. He then went to No 1 School of Army Co-Operation at Old Sarum for a course on Lysanders in August 1939, and soon after joined 613 Squadron. Bernard Walker Brown was flying one of six Hectors detailed to dive-bomb gun emplacements near Calais. On the way to the target, he test-fired his forward gun but a fault caused the muzzle attachment to fly off, penetrate the fuselage and hole the main fuel tank. He jettisoned his bombs and turned back and make a forced-landing. In August 1940 he volunteered for Fighter Command, converting to Spitfires. He joined 610 Squadron at Biggin Hill. In late September he went to 72 Squadron, but on the 23rd was shot down by a Bf 109. He bailed out of the aircraft, badly wounded. Returning to active duty in November 1940, he was posted to 8FTS, Montrose for an instructor's course, after which he went to Rhodesia, subsequently instructing at Cumalo. In 1943, he trained with Transport Command, becoming a ferry pilot. He flew between the United Kingdom and the Middle East. He transferred to the RNZAF in January 1944 and by the end of the year was flying Halifaxes. He was released in 1945 to fly Dakotas with BOAC and later joined BEA, flying with the airline until his retirement in 1972.
Squadron Leader Maurice P Brown
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Maurice P Brown
| Squadron Leader Maurice P Brown |
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.
Cranston Fine Arts would like to extend our many thanks to Squadron Leader Maurice Peter Brown for spending a day (17/2/2010) with us signing a number of our art prints.
Pilot Officer Norman Brown
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Pilot Officer Norman Brown
| Pilot Officer Norman Brown |
Served on Spitfires with 611 and 41 Squadrons. On 1st November 1940 Norman was part of a flight of Spitfires that overshot Hornchurch due to poor visibility and soon found themselves in the London Balloon Barrage area. These balloons were tethered with metal cables and upon striking one; Browns aircraft was seriously damaged, forcing him to land in the built-up area of Dagenham. He left the squadron in February 1941 and left the RAF that April, working in the timber industry for the rest of the war.
Squadron Leader Peter Brown AFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Peter Brown AFC
| Squadron Leader Peter Brown AFC |
A short service commission pilot, Brown joined 611 Squadron at Duxford in September 1939 and served with them through the Battle of Britain, including the period the Squadron was part of the Duxford Wing. Over Dunkirk on June 2, the Squadrons first major action was with a large formation of Bf 109s. Browns Spitfire was damaged and he landed at Southend with a burst tyre. He shared in the destruction of a Do 17 on August 21 and on the 15th he destroyed an He 111 and shared a probable Do 17. On September 28 1940, Brown moved to 41 Squadron where he increased his score. On October 20th he shot down a Bf 109 and the pilot baled out near Ashford. Brown landed at West Malling and collected the pilots life jacket as confirmation of his victory! His final score was three confirmed victories. After promotion to Flight Commander he was posted on June 28 1942 to a training role at 61 Sqn OTU.
Flying Officer John Byrne
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flying Officer John Byrne
| Flying Officer John Byrne |
With the RAF since 1938, Byrne flew Hurricanes, Spitfires, P-47s, Tempests and Typhoons during WWII. Upon joining 197 Sqn in March 1944 he flew Typhoons during one the squadrons most hectic periods in the run up to D-Day and throughout the subsequent Allied invasion, mostly on low-level bombing missions. In total Byrne completed over 150 combat operations and finally left the RAF in 1946.
Flight Lieutenant John Cambell
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant John Cambell
| Flight Lieutenant John Cambell |
John Cambell flew Spitfires with 234 Squadron, before joining 121 Eagle Squadron. After the transfer of the Eagles to the USAAF, John chose to remain with the RAF and was posted to 258 Squadron for the final defence of Singapore, and then to 605 Squadron defending Java. With four victories in the Far East to his credit, in March 1942 the squadron was over-run by the Japanese, and John became a POW in a harsh prison camp in Java for the next 3 and a half years.
Click the name above to see prints signed by Hoagy Carmichael
| Hoagy Carmichael |
Commander Peter (Hoagy )Carmichael was born on the 11th of August 1923. In 1942 Peter Carmichael joined the Royal Navy and began pilot training in the US and South Africa, and went on to fly the Spitfire and F4U Corsairs during the final days of the Second World War. After the war, Carmichael flew the Blackburn Firebrand. In June 1948 Carmichael converted to fly the Hawker Sea Fury. In 1952 Hoagy Carmichael, was deployed to Korea with 802 Squadron. The squadron was on board HMS Theseus and travelled to Malta. This was followed by a two month break for an intensive work-up at RNAS Hal Far on Malta, before the squadron sailed to Korea aboard HMS Ocean in April, with a four day stop over in Hong Kong where addtional aircraft arrived. On 9th August 1952 Carmichael, flying his regular Sea Fury (WJ232), was leading a four aircraft formation to attack railway facilities in North Korea between Manchon and Pyongyang. While flying over Chinnampo they came under attack from MiG 15's diving down on them. Hoagy Carmichael later stated: Eight MiGs came at us out of the sun. I did not see them at first, and my No. 4, 'Smoo' Ellis, gave a break when he noticed tracer streaming past his fuselage. We all turned towards the MiGs and commenced a 'scissors'. It soon became apparent that four MiGs were after each section of two Furies, but by continuing our break turns, we presented impossible targets. They made no attempt to bracket us. One MiG came at me head on. I saw his heavy tracer shells. I fired a burst, then he flashed past me. I believe Carl got some hits on him too. This aircraft then broke away, and went head on to my Nos 3 and 4, Lieutenant Pete Davies and 'Smoo' Ellis. They were seen to get good hits on one who broke away with smoke coming from him. Hoagy Carmichael in his Sea Fury became one of the few prop-driven aircraft to down a jet fighter and was the only British Pilot in a British aircraft to do so. For this action he was awarded the DSC. Commander Peter (Hoagy )Carmichael was CO of 806 Naval Air Squadron at Lossiemouth, the last Royal Navy unit flying Sea Hawks. Carmichael later went on to serve as Commanding Officer of T.S. Prince of Wales, Holyhead Sea Cadets until his retired in 1984. Sadly, Hoagy Carmichael died on the 25th of July 1997
Flt. Lt. John (Chips) Carpenter DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flt. Lt. John (Chips) Carpenter DFC
| Flt. Lt. John (Chips) Carpenter DFC |
Flt. Lt. John Chips Carpenter DFC was born on 9 April 1921. He began elementary flying instruction at Redhill and later on Harvards at Turnhill with the RAF in February 1939 and on completion of his training he joined 263 Squadron at Filton in November. On 21 April 1940 the squadron embarked on HMS ‘Glorious’ for Norway, flying off three days later to land on a frozen lake. By the 26th all the Gladiators were either destroyed or unserviceable, so 263 Squadron re-embarked for the UK. In May another attempt was made. From the 21st until it re-embarked on HMS ‘Glorious’ on 6 June the squadron gave a good account of itself, covering the evacuation of the Army and flying offensive patrols. The carrier was sunk by enemy action soon after sailing and nearly all 263’s pilots were lost. Carpenter had not flown on to the carrier and returned to the UK by another ship. He joined 222 Squadron on Spitfires at Hornchurch in late June 1940 in time for the evacuation of Dunkirk. On 31 August he claimed a probable Bf109, on 1 September he destroyed another Bf109, on the 3rd a Bf110 and on the 4th a further Bf109. Soon afterwards he was shot down and wounded and returned to the squadron in October. Carpenter stayed with 222 Sqn. until April 1941, when he was posted to 46 Squadron, just as it prepared to go to the Middle East. The squadron embarked on HMS ‘Argus’, before transferring to the ‘Ark Royal’, from which they flew off to Hal Far, Malta on 6 June. 46 Squadron was kept in Malta and re-numbered 126 Squadron. On 30 June Carpenter shot down a Mc200, on 4 September he claimed another, on 8 November a Mc202, on the 12th another Mc202 and on 27 December he shot a Ju88 down into the sea. Carpenter, who had been a Flight Commander since early October, was awarded the DFC (2.1.42) and posted to 92 Squadron in the Western Desert. In May 1942 he covered the invasion of Sicily and Italy and was given command of 72 Squadron at Anzio. After a rest Carpenter was given command of 72 Squadron at Lago, Italy in January 1944. On 11 April he was posted away, received a Bar to the DFC (7.7.44) and returned to the UK. He went to Hawker’s as a production test pilot. Carpenter was granted a Permanent Commission in September 1945 and he retired on 31 December 1959, as a Flight Lieutenant, retaining the rank of Squadron Leader. Post war he served as CO in Kai Tek, Hong Kong. He died 11th February 2005.
Squadron Leader A M Charlesworth DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader A M Charlesworth DFC
| Squadron Leader A M Charlesworth DFC |
Joined the RAF straight from school just before his 18th birthday in the summer of 1940 with the sole purpose of becoming a fighter pilot. After training, at age just 18, he was posted to RAF Ibsley, Hampshire, to 118 Sqdn, flying Spitfire 2Bs. Here he took part in his first scramble. After a month he was posted where the action was thickest, to a 11 Group Station, RAF Kenley, where he joined 602 Sqdn. His Squadron Commander was Al Deere, by this time a highly decorated ace; Al was 23 then and had already been shot down nine times. 602 Squadron was equipped with the more advanced Spitfire VBs which had two 20mm cannons, firing at 1200 rounds a minute, plus four very useful Browning 50mm machine guns firing at an even higher rate per minute. Al Deere was eventually posted to another squadron and Paddy Finucane took over - possibly the finest fighter pilot 1 came across, Max. Charlesworth continues, I remember him trying to get his 21st victory before his birthday and I often flew No. 2 to him. These were twitchy and tiring days when three sweeps a over occupied France day were the norm, to be met each time by several hundred Me 109s and Focke Wolf 190s, at our maximum range, where hectic dog fights ensued. We were normally outnumbered and a day could last from an early morning call at 3.30am to the last landing at 10.30pm in the semi-dark of the long summer of 1941. The average age of the approximately 30 pilots on the squadron was always about 19. During this period they were scrambled to search for and attack the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau (although they did not know it at the time) which, with escorting vessels had slipped up the Channel from Brest. The weather was awful and Max flew straight across the German battle cruiser Hipper thinking it was a Royal Navy cruiser. The Hipper opened up at Max with guns blazing but he was fortunate to escape with just a hole in one wing. In April 1942 Max was posted to a secret unit called MSFU (Merchant Service Fighter Unit) where he flew Hurricanes from catapults on merchant ships attached to convoys of anything up to fifty merchant men a time. The ships were mainly bringing supplies from America and taking them to Murmansk and Archangel, the hard-pressed Soviets and Gibraltar. Max recalls this as a highly physical and uncomfortable task, apart from also being very scary. The ships were constantly attacked by U Boat packs and aircraft. When they were in range of the latter, if they launched the Hurricane they knew they would ultimately have to bail out and hope to be picked up by either a friendly escort vessel or a sunken ships lifeboat. The North Atlantic route to Canada, north of Iceland and down the Greenland coast at an average sped of six knots in appalling seas was not our idea of a holiday cruise, Max vividly recalls. Having survived this posting Max was then moved to 124 Sq. at West Malting, Near Maidstone, Kent. The squadron was equipped with the much more powerful Spitfire IXs. Their task here was mainly escorting USAF and RAF bombing raids into Europe. With longrange tanks fitted they were able to reach Hamburg and Ludwigshafen; later on they were able to refuel from liberated bases in France. These ops. required them to fly as Top Cover at over 30,000 feet for up to three hours, where it was so cold the pilots returned to base hardly able to climb out of their cockpits. On February 9th 1945 Max was the Senior Flight Commander on 124 Squadron during their move to Cottishall. Here they adapted the Spitfire Ks to dive-bombing. The Spitfires carried either a 500lb. bomb under the fuselage and two 250lbs. under each wing or, a 90-gallon fuel tank under the fuselage and a 250lb. bomb under each wing. Their mission was to destroy V2 sites in Holland - mainly situated in small parks near the centre of the Hague. These V2 sites were launching rockets on London in ever increasing numbers. As well as attacking the V2 sites they were to destroy railway lines used by the Germans to transport V2s into the area. These were dangerous times as the V2s sites were heavily defended by 88mm guns down to 20mm. The flak was horrendous and we lost many recalls Max. As Senior Flight Commander, Max often led the squadron, though identifying targets from 12,000 feet was difficult. After the war Max was one of the first pilots to convert to the Meteor twin-engined jet, later to move on to Vampires and Canberras. His flying career was completed in June 1961 when he was posted to Warsaw, Poland as the Assistant Air Attache. He finally retired from the RAF in 1966.
Colonel Hubert M. Childress
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Colonel Hubert M. Childress
| Colonel Hubert M. Childress |
Hubert Childress was posted to England, joining the 27th Photo Recon Squadron, 7th Photographic Group flying the F5 - a specially adapted photo-recon version of the P38 with cameras and no guns. Hubert flew his first combat mission on New Year's Eve 1943, and was heavily involved in many reconnaissance missions prior to D-Day. He also flew the Spitfire MkIXs on several operations. He flew 58 combat missions and later commanded the 7th Photographic Group (R)
Squadron Leader Douglas G Clift
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Squadron Leader Douglas G Clift
| Squadron Leader Douglas G Clift |
Squadron Leader Douglas G Clift was born in 1919 and joined the RAF in January 1939. Douglas Clift arrived at 11 Group Pool, St Athan on 24 October 1939 and after converting to Hurricanes, he joined 79 Squadron at Biggin Hill on November 17. On 15 August 1940 Clift claimed a Bf 110 destroyed and on 30 August he shared in the destruction of a He 111. In July 1941 he was posted to the Central Flying School at Upavon for an instructor's course. Clift later volunteered for the Merchant Ship Fighter Unit (MSFU) and served with it until October 1942. He remained on flying duties for the rest of the war, finishing up in South-East Asia with the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF). After the war Clift served with 34 Squadron flying photo-reconnaissance Spitfires until its disbandment in August 1947. later he became a radar specialist, sadly Squadron Leader Douglas G Clift passed away on the 31st December 2008 aged 89.
Colonel Pierre Clostermann CDLL L&H MM CdeG DFC*
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Colonel Pierre Clostermann CDLL L&H MM CdeG DFC*
| Colonel Pierre Clostermann CDLL L&H MM CdeG DFC* |
One of the RAFs best known fighter pilots, with more than 20 victories, Clostermann was a Free French officer and later the author of a classic book about World War Two flying, The Big Show. Clostermann came to Britain via the United States and was first in action with 341 (Alsace) Squadron on Spitfires in 1943. By D-Day he was with 602 Squadron, also on Spitfires, and flew a patrol over the beaches late in the afternoon of June 6th. On June 14th he became the first French pilot to land in liberated France. Rested in July 1944, Clostermann returned to action in January 1945 and from 4th March was flying Tempests with 274 Squadron. His first Tempest score was a Bf 109 on his second day during a cannon test. In the middle of March 1945 he was posted as a Flight commander to No 56 Squadron. With this unit he destroyed a Bf109 in the air. On 8th April he was transferred to No 3 Squadron as A Flight commander where he on 20th April scored two Fw190D-9s. Clostermanns final score in Tempest is at least 12 destroyed, 6 shared and 2 probables. He was awarded the DSO and DFC and Bar in addition to French, Belgian and American decorations. Post war he achieved world-wide fame with The Big Show, and other books, and enjoyed a substantial career in politics and the aviation industry. Pierre Clostermann passed away on 22nd March 2006.
Flying Officer Ken Cockram
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flying Officer Ken Cockram
| Flying Officer Ken Cockram |
After training in Rhodesia and a spell with 73 OTU in Egypt, Ken Cockram flew Hurricanes and Spitfires in late 1944 and early 1945 with 26 AA Cooperation Unit based in Egypt. He also flew Curtiss Kittyhawks with 112 Squadron on anti-shipping and fighter patrols, once crashing his aircraft on take-off during a dust storm. He completed a total of 198 operations.
Colonel Oscar Coen
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| Colonel Oscar Coen |
Oscar Coen was born at Hannaford, N.D., on May 11, 1917, to Archie and Mary Coen. He grew up in Pound, Wis., and received his bachelor of science degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Enlisting in 1940 into the RCAF, Oscar Coen transferred to the RAF in 1941, joining 71 Squadron RAF. In a daring raid over France he destroyed a complete ammunition train with a pass so low that exploding debris hit his Spitfire. Managing to bail out safely he was smuggled to Spain by the French Resistance, and eventually back to England. With several victories and a DFC to his credit he transferred to the USAAF in 1942 as a Squadron Commander, completing the war as an Ace with 5 victories and flying over 250 combat missions. Oscar Hoffman Coen, 87, of Baker City, died June 23, 2004, at the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise.
Flight Lieutenant Stan Colley
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| Flight Lieutenant Stan Colley |
Joining the RAF in 1941, Stan undertook his flight training in Canada in Tiger moths. He returned to the UK in 1944 training Glider pilots prior to D-Day. He learnt to fly Spitfires with 73 OTU prior to working in Egypt towards the end of the War.
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by J Collinsworth
| J Collinsworth |
RAF fighter ace with 6 victories. Born in Dublin, Texas, he is one of the few Americans to become an ace flying the Supermarine Spitfire. March 1942 saw him in England flying in the 31st. F.G., 307th Squadron. This was the first Yank fighter unit in the country since WWI. On August 19, 1942, he received his baptism of fire above the ill-fated commando raid on the coast of France. Later, Collinsworth helped spearhead Operation Torch landings in Oran, Algeria, still flying Spitfires. He covered the landings at southern Sicily, flying from Maltas sister island Gozo. In 125 combat sorties, he shot down 6 Axis aircraft, 1 probable and 1 damaged. He finished his military career as a Colonel. His Spitfire is seen low left in Defiance at Dieppe. Awards include D.F.C. with 1 O.L.C., Air Medal with 17 O.L.C.s, the Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal.
Flight Lieutenant Bryan Colston
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| Flight Lieutenant Bryan Colston |
Bryan Colston was born in Buckinghamshire on 27 May 1921 and was educated at St Pauls School. He joined the RAFVR in 1940, training on Tiger Moths, Oxfords and Lysanders, becoming a fighter reconnaissance pilot with 225 Squadron in 1941. He served with 225 Sqn until July 1943 and became a Flight Commander in 1942. He flew Lysanders, Tomahawks, Hurricanes, Mustangs and Spitfires serving throughout the Tunisian campaign and flying over a hundred operational sorties. He contracted typhoid fever at the end of the campaign and was invalided back to the UK, where, after periods of instructing at 61 OTU and some staff appointments, he commanded 695 Squadron flying Spitfire XVIs.
Flight Lieutenant William J. Corbin DFC
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| Flight Lieutenant William J. Corbin DFC |
Already a member of the RAFVR, William Corbin was called up for active duty in September 1939. Following training and conversion to spitfires, in august 1940 he was posted as a Sergeant Pilot to join 6 Squadron at Coltishall. With the exception of a few weeks spent with 610 Squadron he remained with 66 Squadron until September 1941. Commissioned in June 1942, he returned to combat flying in September, joining 72 Squadron with whom he went to North Africa. Here he shared in a probable Me109 and damaged another, and in August 1943 was awarded the DFC.
Wing Commander Hank Costain MBE
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| Wing Commander Hank Costain MBE |
Hank Costain was born in Horton on the Gower Coast and was educated at Christ College Brecon. He joined the RAFVR for pilot training in September 1940. He trained in the USA in Arizona at Thunderbird Field and Falcon Field, returning to the UK in 1941 to complete operational training at 53 OTU on Spitfire Mk1s. He flew with No 154 Squadron (Motor Industries Squadron) Spitfire Vbs in the Hornchurch Wing. The Squadron was withdrawn from 11 Group to prepare for the invasion of North Africa, operation Torch. He flew with the Squadron throughout the North African campaign and moved with the Squadron to Malta to prepare for the invasion of Sicily, operation Husky. After moving to Lentini East in Sicily his tour was completed and he was posted back to The Canal Zone 73 OTU Abu Sueir as an instructor. Having completed his instructors tour the Far East were calling for experienced Spitfire pilots and he found himself en route to No 615 Squadron (County of Surrey) R.Aux.A.F. in Burma. He baled out of a Spitfire MkVIII while operating with 615 Squadron and spent several months in hospital in Calcutta before being invalided home. Fit again he became an instructor at 61 OTU Keevil on Spitfires and Mustangs. The next tour was with 245 Squadron at Horsham St Faith flying Meteor 3s. This tour was cut short, as there was a call for the two Spitfire Squadrons in Japan to be reinforced. At the end of 1946 he found himself on No 11 Squadron at Miho in Japan as part of the BCAIR element of BCOF (British Commonwealth Occupation Force). Returning from Japan in 1948 he spent a period ferrying with No 20 Maintenance Unit followed be an appointment as Unit Test Pilot at No9 MU. He completed the CFS Course in 1952 and became Training Officer of No602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron R.Aux.A.F. Promoted to Squadron Leader in 1953, a tour as Chief Ground Instructor and OC Gunnery Squadron at 226 OCU was completed. When 226 OCU was disbanded he took command of No608 (NR) Squadron R.Aux.A.F. at Thornaby on Tees, flying Vampires. He completed his RAF career in Guided Weapons. A tour of Woomera evaluating the Bloodhound Mk2 SAM missile. Then CO of No 33 (SAM) Squadron at Butterworth in Malaysia followed by appointment as CO of No 25 (SAM) Squadron at North Coates and RAF Germany.
Flight Lieutenant Raife J Cowan
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| Flight Lieutenant Raife J Cowan |
Joined the RAAF in May 1940 and attended EFTS in Australia and gained his wings in Canada. Early in 1941, Raife sailed to the UK and converted to Spitfires at 57 OTU Hawarden. In April 1942 he joined 452 Sqn RAAF being formed at Kirton in Lindsay, Lincolnshire. On 16th June 1941 he was hospitalised after a night flying prang until re-joining the squadron at Kenley during September. Raife flew operations with 452 Sqn until the squadron was posted to Australia for the defence of Darwin. On 24th June he joined 75 Sqn which was re-forming at Kingaroy after their epic forty four day Battle at Port Moresby. Cowan flew to New Guinea in July and participated in the Battle of Milne Bay during August and September, then withdrew to Australia with the squadron. In February 1943 Raife was posted to 2 OTU Mildura as an instructor on Spitfires, Kittyhawks and Wirraways. On 3rd August 1945 Raife Cowan was posted as CO to 78 Sqn at Tarakan until the end of the war.
Wing Commander David Cox DFC
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| Wing Commander David Cox DFC |
Ending the war with seven confirmed victories and as Wing Leader of 909 Spitfire Wing in Burma, Cox remembers an acerbic encounter with Bader as a young Sergeant Pilot. Bader made it very clear that the battle damage to his Spitfire was not excused by his having shot down the Bf 109 that caused it! Above all, however, he remembers Baders calmness on the radio when leading the Wing - it calmed evervone else. Cox, from Cambridge, an RAFVR pilot, originally failed the RAF medical, working for some months in Billingsgate market to build up his strength. He joined 19 Squadron at Duxford in 1940. He scored several victories during the Battle of Britain, but was shot down on September 27 1940 and wounded. Cox took part in many fighter sweeps with 19 Squadron in 1941 and was commissioned in July. After a spell instructing, Cox joined 72 Squadron in May 1942, accompanying it to North Affica where lie increased his score to a total of seven confirmed victories. On April 5 1945 he was posted to Burma. David Cox died 20th January 2004.
Lieutenant Steve Crowe
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| Lieutenant Steve Crowe |
Steve Crowe flew Hurricanes with 257 Squadron RAF. and undertook his first combat operation in November 1941. Along with other Americans he was then posted to join 133 Eagle Squadron, flying Spitfires, transferring to the USAAF in September 1942 as the 336th Fighter Squadron. He flew over 70 combat missions in both the European and Mediterranean theatres of operations.
Flight Lieutenant W R Cundy DFC DFM MID
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| Flight Lieutenant W R Cundy DFC DFM MID |
Ron Cundy commenced flying with 135 Sqn before being posted to the Middle East with 260 Sqn flying Hurricanes and later Kittyhawks. Returning back to Australia he flew Spitfires in defence of Darwin with 452 Sqn RAAF. In North Africa he survived an encounter with Marseille, and ended the war with 5 confirmed victories.
Group Captain John Cunningham CBE DSO DFC AE DL FRAeS
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| Group Captain John Cunningham CBE DSO DFC AE DL FRAeS |
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.
Click the name above to see prints signed by Peter Cunningham
| Peter Cunningham |
Battle of Britain Spitfire Pilot. Passed away 2007. Like so many pilots, Peter began his flying career in the USA on Stearmans, staying as an instructor after qualifying. The death of a close friend in action prompted him to request posting to an active fighter squadron and after a short conversion spell on Hurricanes in England, Peter found himself flying Spitfire Mk.IXs over Italy in 1943. One incident he recalled was the occasion when he was obliged to put his Spitfire, which had been damaged by ground fire, into the sea off the coast of Anzio and the resulting difficulty he had in extricating himself from the rapidly sinking fighter! Following his tour of operations Peter was sent to the Middle?East as a test pilot and it was here that he met Vera, the WAAF who would become his wife. With flying now truly engrained in his blood, Peter went on after the war to become one of the worlds most respected civil airline pilots, flying the classic aircraft of the day and witnessing amazing sights as his adventure?filled career took him across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle?East.
Flight Lieutenant Wallace Cunningham DFC
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| Flight Lieutenant Wallace Cunningham DFC |
Wallace Cunningham, known as Jock during his time in the RAF, was born in Glasgow on December 4th 1916. He studied Engineering part-time at the Royal Technical College (later to become the University of Strathclyde) and joined the RAFVR in 1938, learning to fly at Prestwick. When war was declared he was commissioned. He did his flying training at 11 FTS, Shawbury. After converting to Spitfires at 5 OTU, Aston Down, he was posted to 19 Squadron in July 1940. Flew Spitfire Mk.I P8439. On 16th August 1940 he destroyed a Bf110. On September 7th the Duxford Wing of three squadrons flew its first offensive patrol under the leadership of Douglas Bader. The controversial Big Wing took off in the late afternoon to head towards London. A large force of enemy bombers, with their fighter escort, was intercepted and Cunningham shot down a Heinkel 111 bomber over Ramsgate and damaged a second. His next success came two days later when the Big Wing scrambled in the afternoon. After attacking a bomber force, Cunningham found a stray Messerschmitt Bf109, which he shot down. September 15th saw the most intensive fighting and the turning point of the Battle, with all fighter squadrons in the south of England scrambled. Cunningham shared in the destruction of a Bf110 and destroyed a second fighter over the Thames Estuary. Before the battle was over at the end of October, he shared in the destruction of two more enemy aircraft. In October he was awarded the DFC for great personal gallantry and splendid skill in action. After the Battle of Britain, Flight Lieutenant Cunningham remained with No.19 Sqn as a flight commander. In July 1941 he damaged a Bf109 but on August 28th, while escorting a force of Blenheim bombers, he was shot down by flak near Rotterdam and taken prisoner. Flight Lieutenant Cunningham was initially sent to Oflag XC at Lubeck before joining a large RAF contingent at Oflag VIB at Warburg. He was soon involved in escape activities. The tunnelling fraternity he joined was almost ready to break out when its efforts were discovered. Within weeks he was on the digging team of another tunnel and was one of 35 PoWs selected for the escape. But when the tunnel broke the surface on April 18 1942 it was well short of the intended spot. Only five prisoners were able to escape before the tunnel was discovered next morning. Later in the year Cunningham was transferred to Stalag Luft III. At the end of January 1945, the camp was evacuated and the PoWs were forced to march westwards in atrocious winter weather. In late April, British forces liberated the prisoners and Cunningham was flown back to England. He was released from the RAF in 1946. Sadly Wallace Cunningham passed away on October 4th 2011.
Lt Col Bob Curtis
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| Lt Col Bob Curtis |
Bob Curtis arrived in North Africa in 1943, moving to Sicily soon after, flying Spitfires with the 52nd Fighter Group. He scored his first air victory over an Me109 flying his Spitfire, and later survived a bail out when his fighter was badly damaged after a building he strafed exploded beneath him. Moving across to the 15th Air Force, the 52nd Fighter Group re-equipped with the P-51 and Bob Curtis became a Squadron Commander. He added 13 more to his score flying the P-51, ending his war with 14 victories.
Miss Lettice Curtis
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| Miss Lettice Curtis |
Joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in July 1940 having been taken on to ferry Tiger Moths. Although we were later allowed to ferry other training types such as Oxfords and Masters, it was not until the autumn of 1941 that women were allowed to fly operational aircraft types. I flew my first Hurricane in August 1941 and my first Spitfire a couple of weeks later. After a brief course on a Blenheim I was cleared to fly without any further training, twin-engine bombers up to the Wellington. In November 1943 I was sent on a Halifax course, which due to unserviceability and bad weather closed, restarting in February 1943 at Pocklington where I was cleared for ferrying Halifaxes. After that without further training, I ferried Lancasters and over 100 Stirlings. In November 1945 I ferried 14 Liberators.
Flight Lieutenant Roy Daines DFM
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| Flight Lieutenant Roy Daines DFM |
Roy Daines joined the RAF as soon as he was able, and after completing his hurried training as a pilot, was posted to join 247 Squadron in the autumn of 1940. Here he flew Gladiators and Hurricanes on coastal patrols, 247 being the only squadron to fly Gladiators during the Battle of Britain, before converting to nightfighting Hurricanes. Later, in 1943, he flew Typhoons with 247 before being posted to join 65 Squadron flying Spitfires and Mustangs.
Flight Lieutenant Alan Davies
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| Flight Lieutenant Alan Davies |
Joining the RAF in 1943, Alan Davies did his pilot training in America. Returning to the UK he flew Spitfire MkXIVs with an OTU, before joining 225 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron flying Spitfire Mk IXs. At the end of the war, he remained with the squadron, first at Klagenfurt in Austria, then Udine in Italy, and served briefly with 253 Squadron.
Air Commodore Alan Deere DSO DFC*
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| Air Commodore Alan Deere DSO DFC* |
Top scoring New Zealand Ace with 22 victories, Deere was born in Auckland on December 12th 1917. Alan Deere would become one of the RAFs finest pilots. Joining the RAF in 1937, in September 1938 Al Deere was posted to No.54 Sqn at the time flying Gloster Gladiators, then in early 1940 the Squadron converted to Spitfires. His first brush with death happened when his oxygen failed while at altitude and ke blacked out, coming to only in time to pull his aircraft out of a dive and certain death. At the beginning of May 1940 Deere took part in the intensive air war over Dunkirk and on 23rd May 1940 Deere took part in a daring rescue operation. He and Pilot Officer Allen escorted their flight commander, James Leathart, to France where he was to land a Miles Master trainer and pick up the CO of 74 Squadron who had made a forced landing on the airfield at Calais-Marck. While the pick up was made, Alan Deere was at low level with Pilot Officer Allen at 8000 feet. As Flight Commander James Leathart prepared for take off in the Master, Pilot Offcier Allen spotted a flight o Bf109s coming their way.
Deere scored his first victory, as a strafing Bf109 pulled out of its dive, presenting a perfect target. Deere fired a short burst and the aircraft stalled and then crashed into the sea. Deere, climbing to help Allen, crossed the path of two 109’s, one of which turned towards him. Deere also turned, firing at the second one, which rolled over and dived away. Pursuing the first one, he caught up at treetop height and pursued him, firing off his remaining ammunition before the German headed for home. During the whole event Deere and Allen accoutned for three Bf109s shot down and three damaged. All three aircraft returned to their base at RAF Hornchurch.
During four days - 23rd to 29th May - Deere shot down three Bf109’s and three Bf110’s but his luck ran out and he was shot down over Dunkirk while attacking a Dornier Do17 and luckily managed a forced landing in Belgium where he optained a bicycle and cycled to Dunkirk where he managed to get on a destroyer and returned to Hornchurch within 30 hours of taking off. In June he was decorated with the DFC by the King at a special ceremony at Hornchurch. Alan Deere destroyed seven more enemy fighters and one bomber during the Battle of Britian and was awarded a Bar to the DFC. In January 1941 became an Operations Room Controller. He returned to operations on 7th May 1941, joining 602 Squadron in Scotland as a Flight Commander.
On August 1st 1941 Alan Deere took command of 602 Squadron and on that day destroyed a Bf109. When his second operational tour ended in January 1942 Deere went to the USA to lecture on fighter tactics. In May 1942, he took command of 403 Squadron, commanding the squadron until August before being posted to staff duties. During a temporary attachment to 611 Squadron in February 1943 Deere destroyed an Fw190. Some days later he was appointed Wing Leader at Biggin Hill. He flew 121 sorties during his six months leadership and by this time his tally was twenty-two confirmed victories, ten probables and eighteen damaged.
He was also awarded the DSO and a bar to his DFC. Alan Deere was also awarded the Croix de Guerre and the DFC (USA) and in May 1945 He was awarded an OBE. In December 1977 Air Commodore Deere retired form the Royal Air Force. Iin 1959 Air Commodore Alan Deere wrote of his experiences in his book, ’Nine Lives’. Sadly, he passed away on 21st September 1995.
Jimmy Dell OBE
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| Jimmy Dell OBE |
Jimmy Dell joined the RAF in 1942 and after the war flew F-86Es and the first radar equipped F-86D with the USAF. He was the first RAF Lightning Project Test Pilot and later became Chief Test Pilot at English Electric/BAC test flying Lightning, TSR 2 and Jaguar. One of a unique breed of aviators who have achieved great career success as a fast jet test pilot within both military and commercial environments. Probably best known for his work on the English Electric Lightning, Jimmy Dell has used his skill, courage and intimate knowledge of aerodynamics to reach the very top of a highly demanding profession. Joining the RAF in 1942, Jimmy Dell did his initial pilot training in Southern Rhodesia. By 1944 he had already become a Flying Instructor for advanced trainers. After the war Jimmy performed various training and test flying roles on aircraft such as Spitfires, Meteors, Venoms and Hunters. He also led test flight teams to the USA and France to work on aircraft such as the F-100, F-104, F-105, F-106, Mystere 4 and Mirage 3. In 1960 he joined English Electric on the Lightning development programme and was Chief Test Pilot from 1961 to 1970. Jimmy also worked on the TSR2 programme and flew 12 of the aircraft’s 24 test flights, before its untimely cancellation in 1965. He worked on the French / UK Jaguar programme, and finally became Director, Flight Operations with responsibility for all Tornado test flight activities across the three participating countries. Jimmy Dell retired in 1989. Amongst his awards was the OBE for services to test flying. Sadly, Jimmy Dell died on 25th March 2008.
Warrant Officer David Denchfield
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| Warrant Officer David Denchfield |
Called up in 1939 he converted to Spitfires and joined 610 Squadron at Acklington in the Battle of Britain. On a Blenheim escort to St Omer in February 1941 his aircraft was hit and, having baled out at 5,000 feet, he was captured by the Germans. He spent time in several POW camps, including Stalg Luft III, and at the end of the war in May 1945 flew back to the UK in a Lancaster of 617 Squadron.
Flight Lieutenant Nigel Drever
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| Flight Lieutenant Nigel Drever |
Joining the RAF on a short service commission in May 1939, he was sent to 98 Sqn upon completion of his training. At the height of the Battle of Britain in September 1940 he then joined 610 Sqn on Spitfires before later being shot down over France in 1942 and spending time as a PoW in several camps including Stalag Luft III.
Wing Commander Bob Doe, DSO, DFC*
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| Wing Commander Bob Doe, DSO, DFC* |
In 1939 he joined the R.A.F. and upon completion of his training was posted to 234 squadron. During the Battle of Britain he achieved great success. He was one of the very few pilots to successfully fly both Hurricanes and Spitfires and was one of the top scorers of the Battle with 14 and two shared victories. He was awarded the DFC in October and a BAR in November. He joined 66 squadron as a Flight Commander then moving to 130 squadron in August 1943 saw him in 613 squadron flying Mustangs. October 1943 he was posted out to the Far-East, forming 10 squadron, Indian Air Force, which he led on the Burma front. Awarded the DSO in 1945. He stayed on in the R.A.F. after the war, retirement in 1966 was followed by opening a Garage business which proved successful. Sadly, we have learned of the passing of Bob Doe on 21st February 2010.
Colonel Archie G Donahue USMC
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| Colonel Archie G Donahue USMC |
Archie Donahue was born in Casper, Wyoming in 1917. He attended schools in Wyoming until 1934 when his family moved to Texas. He had his first airplane ride at the age of eight and the flying bug bit him. Archic completed three years of engineering studies at the University of Texas before joining the Navy as an Aviation Cadet. During his training Archie was stationed at Kansas City, Jacksonville, and finally Corpus Christi. He requested a transfer to the Marine Corps, and upon his graduation he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in February of 1942. After a short posting to Norfolk, Archie was assigned to VMF-112, which was nicknamed the Wolfpack. The squadron was sent to Guadacanal in September where they commenced combat missions flying the Grumman F4F Wildcat. Archie would soon transition to the state-of-the-art F4U-1 Corsair. Between September 1942 and June of 1943 Archie was credited with nine aerial victories. One of these was achieved in the Wildcat with the balance attained while piloting the Corsair. On May 13, 1943 Archic would down five A6M3 Zeros during a single mission. In June of 1943 VMF-112 returned to the States, and the squadron was disbanded. Serving as a flight officer at El Toro Air Station in California, Archie was given the assignment of carrier qualifying VMF-451. In February of 1945 VMF-451 began combat operations flying from the deck of the USS Bunker Hill. For the next three months Donahue and his squdroninates flew numerous missions in support of the landings at lwo Jima and Okinawa, as well as strikes at the Japanese mainland, and in the process earning the nickname Angels of Okinawa. On April 12, 1945 Donahue was once again credited with five victories during a fierce aerial battle over Okinawa. On May 11 th Archie's flight of 16 Corsairs had just returned to the carrier, and as the pilots completed their debriefing the Bunker Hill was hit by two Kamikaze aircraft, setting off a huge fire and killing 346. The Bunker Hill had to be withdrawn from action. Donahue returned to the States where he was made Commander of a squadron at El Toro. He was later transferred to Quantico, a large Marine base near Washington, DC. Archie flew a total of 215 combat missions during WWII including 56 from the deck of the Bunker Hill. He was credited with a total of 14 confirmed aerial victories. He had more than 4000 flying hours in military aircraft and 110 successful carrier landings. Although he never crashed an airplane, Archie was reported killed during aerial gunnery training when a student made a beautiful run and cut the tail off Archie's plane about five feet behind his head. Archie is a recipient of the Navy Cross, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and five Air Medals. Archie has also been an active participant in the Confederate Air Force, and in 1990 he piloted an SBD with an unusual pilot, Saburo Sakai, the high scoring Japanese ace who was shot down in WWII by the rear gunner of a SBD. Following his retirement from military service in 1958 Archie began a long and successful career in real estate development. Archie lives in Texas with his wife Mary. They have five children and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Sadly, he passed away on 30th July 2007.
Lieutenant General Avi Baron M Donnet CVO DFC FRAeS
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| Lieutenant General Avi Baron M Donnet CVO DFC FRAeS |
One of Belgiums most distinguished fighter pilots, Mike Donnet led 350 (Belgian) Squadron Spitfires over the D-Day beaches just before dawn, as the invasion was going in. He returned to the beachhead during the day and then finally at sunset. In all he flew 30 sorties over the beaches during the Normandy campaign. Originally a member of the Belgian Air Force, Donnet was captured by the Germans in May 1940 but subsequently made a daring escape to England by air in July 1941. Flying with 69 Squadron he scored three victories before taking command of 350 Squadron. After Normandy Donnet was in action against the V1s and the retreating German ground forces, as well as providing air cover for the Arnhem operation. In October 1944 he took command of the Hawkinge Wing of Spitfires. He rose to high command in the postwar Belgian Air Force.
Group Captain Byron Duckenfield AFC
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| Group Captain Byron Duckenfield AFC |
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 :
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.
Sadly we have learned that Byron Duckenfield passed away on 19th November 2010.
Squadron Leader Neville Duke, DSO, OBE, DFC*, AFC, CzMC
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| Squadron Leader Neville Duke, DSO, OBE, DFC*, AFC, CzMC |
Neville Duke flew Spitfires as wingman to Sailor Malan in 92 Squadron. In November 1941 he was posted to 112 Squadron in the Middle East. After a second tour in the Desert, he flew a third tour, with 145 Squadron in Italy. He was the top scoring Allied Ace in the Mediterranean with 28 victories. After the war, in 1953, he captured the World Air Speed record. He died 7th April 2007.
Group Captain Sir Hugh Dundas CBE DSO DFC DI
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| Group Captain Sir Hugh Dundas CBE DSO DFC DI |
Hugh Dundas was born on the 2nd of July 1920 in Doncaster. Hugh Dundas, like his elder brother John, became fascinated by the idea of flying from childhood, and straight after leaving Stowe School in 1938 joined the Auxiliary Air Force. As a pre-war member of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, Hugh Dundas was called up early in the war, serving with 616 Squadron. After a promising start as a fighter pilot, Dundas was shot down on 22nd August and wounded during the Battle of Britian, but returned to his squadron in September 1940. His brother John, a 12 victory ace with No.609 Squadron, was killed in action in November 1940 after shooting down the top–scoring German Luftwaffe ace at the time, Helmut Wick. In early 1941 he was at Tangmere and came under the command of Wing Commander Douglas Bader. Dundas became one of the leading members of that Wing and frequently flew with Bader, gradually building his reputation as a fighter pilot and tactician. After receiving the DFC, Dundas became Flight Commander in 610 Squadron. December 1941 brought another promotion as commanding officer of 56 Squadron, the first in the RAF to be converted to Typhoons. Posted to the Mediterranean in 1943, he led 244 Spitfire Wing from Malta and later Italy. In 1944, Dundas was awarded the DSO and became one of the youngest Group Captains in the RAF. For some years after the war, Dundas served once more with the RAuxAF during which time he became CO of 601 Squadron. His war time score was 4 destroyed, 6 shared destroyed, 2 shared probables, and 2 and 1 shared damaged. After the war had ended Dundas served with the RAuxAF as CO of No.601 Squadron and was the air correspondent for the Daily Express newspaper. In 1961 he joined Rediffusion ltd becoming a Director in 1966, and Chairman of Thames Television unitl 1987, when he was knighted. In 1989 he served as High Sheriff of Surrey. Sir Hugh Dundas died on 10th July 1995 at the age of 74.
Colonel Bill Edwards
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| Colonel Bill Edwards |
Volunteering for the RAF in 1940, Bill Edwards was to fly 37 combat operations with 133 Squadron, the third Eagle Squadron to be formed, first on Hurricanes and then on Spitfires. Transferring to the 4th Fighter Group in September 1942, he was leading the Group on 13th July 1944 when he was shot down and taken prisoner of war. He remained in German captivity until liberated in June 1945. He retired from the USAF in 1968.
Wing Commander J F Stocky Edwards DFC* DFM
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| Wing Commander J F Stocky Edwards DFC* DFM |
Stocky Edwards became a P40 Ace with 260 Sqn. 94 Sqn RAF, Flight Commander 260 Sqn RAF, 417 Sqn RCAF, Flight Commander 92 Sqn RAF, Squadron Commander 274 Sqn RAF, Wing Leader 127 Wing RCAF. His victory total was 15 with 3 shared.
Wing Commander Mac England DFC
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| Wing Commander Mac England DFC |
‘Mac’ England joined the RAF in 1938 and after qualifying, posted as a pilot into Lancaster’s. In 1941 he was transferred from Bomber command to fighter Command-flying Spitfires on coastal sweeps. After a short period of time on Spitfires he was transferred back again to bomber Command, and in 1943 completed 30 Operations on Lancaster’s. When he retired in 1974 he had flown a total of 36 different aircraft including Hunters and Canberras.
Flight Lieutenant Ken Evans DFC
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| Flight Lieutenant Ken Evans DFC |
Joining the RAF in 1939, Ken Evans was posted to 600 Squadron, where he flew night operations. In September 1941 he was posted to 130 Squadron to fly Spitfires, and in early 1942 was ordered to Malta. Arriving in Gibraltar he joined the carrier HMS Eagle. On 18 May he flew his Spitfire to Malta from the Eagle, to join 126 Squadron. Seeing much action over the island in June and July, in August he returned to Gibraltar to lead a new flight back to Malta, this time embarking on the carrier HMS Furious. One of 126 Squadrons most successful pilots on Malta, Ken was awarded the DFC on 1st December 1942, and credited with 5 destroyed, 3 probables and 3 damaged. Commissioned on Malta, he returned to the UK, and in September 1943 was posted to 165 Squadron as a flight commander.
Wing Commander Paul Farnes DFM
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| Wing Commander Paul Farnes DFM |
Paul Farnes was born in Boscombe, Hampshire, July 16, 1918. He joined the RAFVR in April 1938 and is mobilized in July 1939 before being posted to 501 Squadron, 14 September 1939. He accompanied the Squadron when it was sent to France in May 1940, winning his first victories in the campaign of France and during the Battle of Britain. In October, he was awarded the DFM after eight victories and was promoted to officer the following month. In February 1941 he was transferred to 57 OTU as an instructor and then to 73 OTU in November, in Aden. In late February 1942, he was posted to 229 Squadron in North Africa as Flight Commander. On March 27, 1942, he flew to Malta with the rest of the Squadron aboard the Hurricane IIc BN122. After a period of intense and difficult battles in which defenders of the island will lose many fighters, during which he took command of the Squadron, he returned to Egypt with the survivors of his unit May 27, 1942. He then transferred to Iraq where he joined the Headquarters and remained there until March 1945. He then returned to Great Britain and three weeks after upgrading to the UTO 53, he took command of 124 Squadron, a position he held until the end of the war. He joined the Tangmere before making command of 611 Squadron equipped Mustang IV July 7, 1945. In August, the Squadron was disbanded and it supports the 164 Squadron with Spitfire IX. 63 Squadron was designated in August 1946. In January 1947, he became an officer of Liaison with training centres with the Air Ministry until October 1948. He then became an instructor in various centres. He continued his career in the RAF until 1958 and left active service with the rank of Wing Commander. He returned to his civilian career in the industry.
Squadron Leader Hartland Finlay DFC
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| Squadron Leader Hartland Finlay DFC |
Born in Montreal, 1920 and educated at McGill University. Former COTC and RCA. Hartland Finlay enlisted for the RAF in Montreal, on the 14th of September 1940 and trained at No.1 ITS, graduating on 21st December 1940. He then went to No.4 EFTS followed by further training at No.9 SFTS graduating on the 28th of May 1941. Commissioned from Warrant Officer to Pilot Officer in 1942 and Flight Officer in January 1943, he went to Britian in 1943. Posted to 1 Sqn in June 1943, he moved to 416 later in the month. On August 12th Flt Off. Hartland Finlay bailed out of a malfunctioning Spitfire and was rescued from the English Channel. Transferred to 443 Sqn in September 1944 and promoted to F/L in March 1944. Attended Fighter Leaders course in May-June 1944 and posted to 53 OTU in July as an instructor. In March 1945 he rejoined 403 Sqn and in April was posted to 443 Sq. Successfully bailed out at 200 ft when his Spitfire was set on fire by return fire from a Ju88 he was attacking. Returned to unit 3 days later and was awarded DFC on 24th July and promoted to S/L later that month. Joined RCAF HQ in September 1945 and returned to Canada in November1945. Squadron Leader Hartland Finlay DFC after leaving the air force flew for KLM from 1946 to 1948. Served with the Canadian Department of Transport. Sadly, Squadron Leader Hartland Finlay DFC passed away on January 22nd 2009.
Click the name above to see prints signed by Charles Fischette
| Charles Fischette |
RAF fighter ace with 5 victories. On April 5th Charles Fischette while Escorting A-20s downed a FW190 and on May 6th while participating in a sweep to Tunis, Fischette destroyed another German fighter. On June 10th while escorting bombers to the Italian island stronghold of Pantelleria. was engaged by 30 enemy fighters over the harbour. Fischette destroyed one ME-109 and shared a probable with Lt. Wooten. On the 11th Pantelleria fell but the 307th engaged a formation of bombers and fighters attacking the invasion fleet. Lt Fischette downed 2 enemy aircraft and making him a ace. (and his five victories were part of the the 307th total of 33 enemy aircraft downed at that point). Charles Fischette woulod gonto command the 494th fighter SQD on the 19th July 1944
Wing Commander Bob Foster DFC
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| Wing Commander Bob Foster DFC |
605 Sqn Battle of Britain, flying Hurricanes throughout the Battle of Britain with much success. 54(F) Sqn Spitfire 1942-1944 in Australia. Flew some missions in aircraft R4118, which saw a total of 49 combat missions, shooting down several enemy aircarft. It was in this aircraft that Bob Foster damaged two Ju88s and shared in the destruction of a third. He finished the war with 7 confirmed victories and 3 probables.
Sqn. Ldr. Frank (Jerry) Frank DFC
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| Sqn. Ldr. Frank (Jerry) Frank DFC |
Sqn. Ldr. Frank (Jerry) Frank DFC volunteered to join the RAF in 1940 and commenced his flying training in the summer of 1941 at Hullavington, Wiltshire. Following training on Spitfires he volunteered to join the Photo-Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) and was posted to RAF Benson, Oxfordshire in 1942. His first op was to Den Helder in July 1942. On 15th May 1943 (his 36th op) he flew to take photographs of the dams from 30,000 feet. He returned to the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams on 17th May to photograph the damage inflicted by 617 Squadron.
Wing Commander John Freeborn DFC*
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| Wing Commander John Freeborn DFC* |
Wing Commnader John. C. Freeborn was born on the 1st of December 1919 in Middleton, Yorkshire. John left grammar school at 16 and joined the RAF in 1938, where he made 14 shillings a week and shot pheasant in his spare time. He later visited his classmates after flight school by landing his plane on a nearby cricket pitch. In March 1938 John Freeborn was commissioned in the RAFO, and on the 9th of April 1938 went to Montrose and joined 8 FTS, where he completed his training before going to 74 Tiger Squadron at Hornchurch on 29th October. He relinquished his RAFO commission on being granted a short service one in the RAF in January 1939. Johnie Freeborn flew Spitfires with 74 Squadron over Dunkirk, and claimed a probable Ju 88 on May 21st 1940. On the 22nd of May 1940 he destroyed a Junkers 88, and a probable Bf 109 on the 24th of May followed soon after on the 27th by a Bf 109 destroyed and another probably destroyed. On one occasion his Spitfire was badly damaged over Dunkirk and he crash-landed on the beach near Calais but managed to get a lift home in a returning aircraft. His squadron flew relentlessly during the Battle of Britain. In one eight-hour period, its pilots flew into combat four times, destroying 23 enemy aircraft (three by John Freeborn) and damaging 14 more. Five kills denoted an Ace and by the end of the Battle of Britain, John had seven to his credit and won the DFC. John claimed a Bf 109 destroyed on 10th July, shared a probable Dornier 17 on the 24th, shot down a Bf 109 on the 28th, destroyed two Bf 110s, a Bf 109 and probably another on 11th August, destroyed a Do 17 on the 13th, destroyed another on 11th September and damaged an He 111 on the 14th. Freeborn was made a Flight Commander on 28th August. He shared a Bf 109 on 17th November, shot down two Bf 109s, shared another and damaged a fourth on 5th December, and damaged a Dornier 17 on 5th February and 4th March 1941. John Freeborn had been with his squadron longer, and flown more hours, than any other Battle of Britain pilot and on the 25th of February 1941 John freeborn was awarded a Bar to the DFC. In January, 1942 John Freeborn was posted to Army Air Force Base in Selma, Alababma which was home to the South East Training Command in America. After two months as RAF liaison officer he went to Eglin Field, Florida where he helped in testing various aircraft, including the new fighters the Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang. He returned to the UK in December 1942 and went to Harrowbear, Exeter, and then to Bolt Head as Station Commander. John Freeborn joined 602 Squadron in 1942, and commanded 118 Squadron in June 1943 at Coltishall, leading it until January 1944. In June 1944 he was promoted Wing Commander (the youngest Wing Commander in the RAF) of 286 Wing in Italy. John Freeborn scored 17 victories and left the Royal Air Force in 1946. Sadly, we have learned that John Freeborn passed away on 28th August 2010. John Freeborn was truly one of the great Fighter Pilots of world war two and his autograph is certainly a major additon to any signature collection, as he did not sign a great deal of art pieces.
Cranston Fine Arts would like to extend our many thanks to Wing Commander John Freeborn for spending a day (28/2/2010) with us signing a number of our art prints.
Colonel Gabby Gabreski
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| Colonel Gabby Gabreski |
Gabby Gabreski was the top scoring 8th Air Force fighter Ace in Europe with 28.5 victories in World War II, plus further 6.5 in Korea. Flying P47s with the 56th Fighter Group, his illustrious career in Europe came to a spectacular end, when, strafing an airfield his aircraft touched the ground. He crash landed and was taken prisoner. The story of this American hero from Oil City, Pennsylvania begins in 1942. Gabreski dropped out of his pre-med studies at the University of Notre Dame to become a flyer. Anxious to get into action quickly Francis Gabreski got himself assigned to the 3-1-5 Polish fighter squadron of the RAF in 1942. Although Gabreski flew many combat missions with the Polish fighter squadron he attained no victories. In February of 1943 he was reassigned to the U.S. Army's Eighth Air Force. On August 24, 1943 he got his first victory (a Focke-Wulf 190) over France. Flying the P-47 Thunderbolt or Jug, Gabreski continued to achieve victory after victory. He was officially credited with 28 confirmed aerial victories, and that excludes the scores of aircraft, tanks, and other vehicles destroyed by Gabreski during ground attack missions. For many weeks leading up to and following D-Day in June of 1944 Gabby had been on numerous missions involving the dive bombing and strafing of German trains, bridges, armored convoys, and gun emplacements. On July 20,1944 Gabby was scheduled to depart for a much-deserved leave, during which he planned to marry his girl, Kay Lochran. Shortly before his scheduled departure Gabreski was given the opportunity of leading the 61st Squadron of the 56th Fighter Group on an important mission. This was a challenge this ace could not resist. Near Cologne, Gabby spotted an airdrome and began a high-speed low-level attack. Defying his own axiom to hit them hard, hit them fast, hit them low, but never come around for a second pass, Gabby made an ill-fated second pass over the field. On this second pass his propeller hit the tarmac, and Gabreski was forced to make a crash landing in a wheat field adjacent to the German airfield. For five days he was able to elude the German army, but he was finally captured and sent to Stalag Luft 1 in Barth Germany. In 1945 with the end of the War Gabby was released and he married Kay Cochran on June 11. Not long after the Korean War broke out, Gabby found himself in command of the 51st Fighter Wing, where he flew the F-86 Sabre jet. In Korea Gabreski attained 6.5 more confirmed aerial victories in engagements with Migs, earning the unique distinction of ace status in two different wars. Following his retirement from military service in 1967, Gabby worked for several years for Grumman Aircraft on Long Island. Later he was to become the President and General Manager of the Long Island Railroad. Two of his nine children are Air Force Academy graduates and pilots with the U.S. Air Force. At the time of his retirement from military service in 1967 Gabby is believed to have flown more combat missions than any other American fighter pilot. Gabreski lived in Long Island New York where the American flag proudly flew each day atop the Gabreski family flagpole. Colonel Francis Gabby Gabreski passed away on January 31,2002.
Tony Gaze DFC**
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| Tony Gaze DFC** |
Australian Tony Gaze joined Bader at Tangmere in March 1941 flying with 610 Sqn, scoring several victories during the high summer of that famous year. In 1942 he was posted to 610 Sqn and then commanded 64 Sqn. In Sept 1943 he joined 66 Sqn but was shot down. Evading capture he escaped back to England. In July 1944 he flew again with 610 Sqn then 41 Sqn. In the final days of the war he flew meteor jets with 616 Sqn. Tony gaze finished the war an Ace with 11 and 3 shared destroyed, 4 probable and one V. He was awarded the DFC with 2 bars.
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Bobby Gibbes
| Bobby Gibbes |
Born 6th May 1916. Bobby Gibbes began pilot training in 1940, and by June 1941 was flying Tomahawks with No3 RAAF Sqn. By February 1942, he was commanding the squadron. Upgrading to the Kittyhawk, he had more aerial victories, before being forced to bale out on May 26th 1942. On December 21st 1942, during an action in the Western Desert, an aircraft from the squadron was forced to crash land a few miles from the target. Gibbes landed his aircraft in the rocky desert, aiming to pick up the downed pilot. He ditched his own parachute, sitting on the pilots lap in the cockpit. On take-off, one wheel fell off the aircraft after colliding with an object on the groud, but he managed to land the aircraft on the one remaining wheel, avoiding a damaging belly landing. He was then shot down behind enemy lines, evading capture for three days before being rescued. He returned to Australia, and was injured during a training flight crash. He died 11th April 2007.
Group Captain Peter Gilpin CBE DFC
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| Group Captain Peter Gilpin CBE DFC |
Peter originally joined 253 Sqn flying Hurricanes, converting to Spitfire Mark 5s he took part in the invasions of North Africa and Sicily, providing fighter cover. Later based in Italy he was on a low level fighter sweep over Yugoslavia on the 2nd June 1944 when he was hit by ground fire and had to bale out. Captured by the Germans he was initially a PoW in Yugoslavia, before being transferred to Stalag Luft 7a, Moosberg, Germany.
Major Michael B Gladych
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| Major Michael B Gladych |
After flying with the Polish Air Force, Michael Gladych eventually escaped to England after the final fall of France, joining 303 Squadron RAF on Spitfires. With 17 victories to his credit, he rammed his eighteenth and final victory in June 1941 and was in hospital for several months afterwards. In 1943 he was posted to 302 Squadron, but then loaned himself to serve with Gabreski and the 56th Fighter Group.
Colonel Bob Goebel
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| Colonel Bob Goebel |
December 1943 found Bob Goebel in North Africa flying Spitfires in preparation for joining the 31st Fighter Group. As soon as they arrived they re-equipped with P51 Mustangs and flew to Italy, where Bob flew a total of 62 combat missions, including 16 hazardous trips to the Romanian oilfields. During his combat operations he led his squadron into action seven times, and his entire Group twice, whilst still only aged 21. He ended the war with 11 air victories. Sadly, Bob Goebel passed away on 20th February 2011.
Flight Lieutenant John Golley
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| Flight Lieutenant John Golley |
John Golley flew Hurricanes, Spitfires and Typhoons during World War II, commencing his combat flying with fighter sweeps and ground attacks over Northern Europe. During the run up to D-Day his No. 245 Squadron Typhoons were equipped with rockets, specializing in tank-busting in the Normandy Campaign. He has written several best-selling military books including The Day of the Typhoon.
Colonel Jim Goodson
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| Colonel Jim Goodson |
Jim Goodson joined the RAF in 1940. Posted to re-form 133 Eagle Squadron RAF flying Spitfires, he transferred to the USAAF 4th fighter Group in September 1942, commanding 336 Squadron. Flying P47s and then P51s, Jim Goodson flew continuously until he was shot down ten months before the end of the war. He was one of the most highly decorated Aces in the USAAF, with 32 enemy aircraft to his credit.
Flight Lieutenant A J Nat Gould
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| Flight Lieutenant A J Nat Gould |
Joined the RAAF in April 1940 and trained in Australia. Nat sailed to the UK in December 1940 and attended 56 OTU at Sutton Bridge. In April 1941 he joined 17 Sqn RAF and in September joined 134 Sqn equipped with Hurricanes and sailed aboard HMS Argus for Murmansk, USSR. After some ops, Nat returned to the UK in December and converted to Spitfires. He then sailed for Australia in March 1942 and joined 75 Sqn RAAF equipped with Kittyhawks. He flew to New Guinea in July and participated in the Battle of Milne Bay and on 28th August twice flew S A29-133 on ops and remained with 75 Sqn until December. After instructing at 2 OTU, Nat was posted in October 1943 to 457 Sqn equipped with Spitfires at Darwin. After 12 months of operations he returned to 2 OTU. In June 1945, Gould transferred to RANVR for service with the RN. Nat Gould commanded 816 Firefly and 806 Sea Fury Sqns during Korea.
Flight Lieutenant James Gray
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| Flight Lieutenant James Gray |
James Gray was in college and taking a civilian pilot training course when the European war began. I tried for the U.S. Army Air Corps and couldn’t pass the physical, he says. I heard that the British were recruiting pilots for the Royal Air Force. I wanted to fly a fast fighter. Like many prospective Eagle Squadron pilots, Gray went to a special school in the United States and learned flying from former U.S. Army Air Corps pilots before shipping off to England. James Gray joined the RAF as an American volunteer in September 1941, and was posted to 71 Eagle Squadron flying Spitfire Vbs. Gray’s first missions in the Spitfire were mostly convoy patrols over the English Channel. By September of 1941, the faster Spitfire Mk.V had replaced No.71 Squadron’s Mk. IIs, and along with the aircraft change came Eagle missions of a little more range - sweeps across the Channel into France. These missions were dubbed Rhubarbs, Circuses and Rodeos, depending on the number of aircraft used, their tactics and varied methods of enticing the Luftwaffe to fight. Gray says he shot down his first enemy plane in the spring of 1942. The day before, some RAF bombers had been badly shot up on a major operation. Rescue boats went out looking for aircrew that might still be floating in dinghies, and Spitfires were sent to provide air cover for the operation. While on this patrol they were attacked by a number of Fw190's. Gray attacked one of the Fw190s which was pursuing Wing Leader Bob Sprague's Spitfire, Gray opened fire with his cannons and sent the Fw190 plunging into the sea. Staying in the RAF throughout the war, he flew Spitfires in North Africa and the Mediterranean, first with 93 Squadron, and later 111 Squadron. His luck eventually ran out in Italy when he was shot down early in 1945 whilst serving with 72 Squadron. Flight Lieutenant James Gray was shot down on January 4th, 1945, his 26th birthday. Gray's Squadron’s Spitfire IXs were carrying 500-pound bombs in ground attacks against German troops in northern Italy. He was taken POW for four months in Stalag-Luft I, north of Berlin. Among Flight Lieutenant James Gray's awards and decorations is the prestigious British Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). After the war Flight Lieutenant James Gray became a pilot for United Airlines, started flying the DC-3, then flew the Convair 340 and, after a long successful career, retired as a Captain in DC-8 jets. He was also the historian for the Eagle Squadrons. James Gray at the age of 90 passed away on the 25th of November 2009.
Flight Lieutenant Trevor Gray
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| Flight Lieutenant Trevor Gray |
Trevor Gray joined the RAFVR in 1939 and was called for service on the outbreak of war. As he was only partially trained, he completed his flying training and after being awarded his wings was posted to 7 OTU at Hawarden After training Trevor Gray was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in August 1940. Converted onto Spitfires, and with the Battle of Britain at its Climax, he was urgently posted to join 64 Squadron at Leconfield, arriving on 16th September 1940. The Squadron had re-equipped from Blenheims to Spitfires earlier that year as it fought in the great air battles over Dunkirk, before seeing hectic action in the Battle of Britain. he damaged a Bf 110 in December 1940. He left the Squadron on April 3 1941 having completed his tour and was posted to 58 OTU at Grangemouth as an instructor from there he was posted to Castletown, the most northerly station on the mainland, to join 124 Squadron which was then being formed. Trevor Gray was then given a post as a research engineer officer at RAE Farnborough and finally left the RAF in 1946 as a flight Lieutenant
Flight Lieutenant Bill Green
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Bill Green
| Flight Lieutenant Bill Green |
In December 1936, Bill Green joined the Auxiliary Air Force as an aero engine fitter with 501 Squadron at Filton, near Bristol. Shortly before the start of the Second World War, he was given a rare chance for an engine fitter. In 1938 he joined a scheme to recruit NCO pilots, qualifying as a Flight Sergeant and re-joined 501 at Bristol in July 1940. Sgt Bill Green had completed just 10 hours of dual flying – with an instructor. In October, he was sent for further flying instruction and on October 30th he had his first solo flight in a Magister aircraft. After more training – and getting married on June 3rd – he flew a Hurricane for the first time on August 8th 1940, when the Battle of Britain had been raging for a month. He flew from Kenley throughout the Battle of Britain until November, surviving being shot down twice, before being posted to 504 Squadron. After a spell instructing on Spitfires and Tomahawks, he converted to Typhoons, and from November 1944 served with 56 Squadron on Tempests. He flew more than 50 missions in Tempest fighter aircraft with 56 Squadron. He was shot down over Germany on February 22nd 1945 and spent the last three months of the war as a prisoner of war. After the war, Green enjoyed a hugely successful business career, ending up as the managing director and chairman of Crown Paints, before retiring on his 60th birthday.
Flying Officer T W Terry Green
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flying Officer T W Terry Green
| Flying Officer T W Terry Green |
Trained by the United States Army in Georgia and Alabama. He was awarded his wings in March 1942 and joined 501 Sqdn at Middle Wallop later that year. He was posted overseas when 501 were rested in Northern Ireland. He joined 232 Sqdn in North Africa in March 1943 and stayed with them through Tunisia on to Malta to cover the invasion of Sicily and then on to Sicily to cover the invasion of Italy at Salerno. The Squadron then flew their Spitfires some 2,500 miles to the north of Syria on the Turkish border to cover what Churchill called the invasion of the soft underbelly of Europe. Since this was aborted they moved back to Corsica to cover the invasion of the south of France at Frejus. They stayed in France until September 1944 where the Squadron was disbanded after handing over their Spitfires to the Free French Air Force. Finally, Terry was posted to 1675 Heavy Conversion Unit at Abu Sueir, Egypt for fighter affiliation duties with aircrews converting from twins to B24 Liberators. He was demobilised in June 1945 and carried on as a weekend flyer in the RAF Volunteer Reserve at Woodley and Fairoaks until 1952.
Flight Lieutenant Ted Hall
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| Flight Lieutenant Ted Hall |
Flight Commander, 452 Squadron. Ted Hall joined the RAAF in 1940 and went to England where he was posted to 129 Squadron at Tangmere flying Spitfires. As Flight Commander he claimed his first victory on 24th July 1942. In the next month he destroyed two more and one shared. He returned to Australia, joining 452 Squadron in Darwin again as Flight Commander. In March 1943 he claimed two Japanese aircraft damaged and on 30th Jun destroyed a Zeke.
Squadron Leader Norman Hancock DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Norman Hancock DFC
| Squadron Leader Norman Hancock DFC |
Sqn Ldr Norman Hancock - Battle of Britian pilot who flew Spitfires with 65 and 152 Squadrons. He recieved the DFC on the 23rd of June 1944. Sadly, Norman Hancock passed away on the 8th of December 2010.
Flying Officer Tom Hannam
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flying Officer Tom Hannam
| Flying Officer Tom Hannam |
Flying Officer Tom Hannam qualified as a pilot in October 1942 having been trained by the US Army Air Forces in Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Returning to the UK and after Operational Training Unit he joined 222 (Natal) Squadron, which was equipped with Spitfires Mark V’s in January/February 1943 aged 21. Most operational sorties were on sweeps, high cover for bombers and ships convey patrols. At the end of September he was shot down over Normandy and spent the next three months avoiding capture by the Germans. Eventually arriving in Gibraltar he was flown home on 23 December 1943. After a brief period he rejoined 222 Squadron to take part in the invasion of Europe and went through Northern France, Belgium and Holland. In December 1944, with the war in Europe no more than 5 months from its end, the Squadron converted onto Tempests Mark V’s and returned to Europe supporting the crossing of the Rhine near Nijmegen and then into Germany. Operational flying covered attacks on airfields, trains, road transport, tanks and rocket sites. When the war in Europe ended he became a flying instructor on Tiger Moths for a short period. Tom returned to civilian life a little older but very much wiser.
P/O Peter Harding
Click the name above to see prints signed by P/O Peter Harding
| P/O Peter Harding |
P/O Peter Harding joined the University of London Air Squadron in 1937, Flying Tutors, Harts and Hinds. He received a VR commission in June 1939 and was prohibited from joining up. In his reserved occupation as metallurgical student at the Royal School of Mines he failed his exam in 1940 and then wrote to the Air Ministry saying 'failed exam - call me up'. By return post he was told 'get medical, get uniform'. He was put through his training period and passed out in Lysander in 227 Squadron. He was converted to Spitfires by Wg Cdr Tuttle and then to 3 PRU Oakington and later to Benson. During his 23rd op his enginestopped over Wilhelmhaven and he had to bail out. He was a PoW from August 1941 to May 1945. After his discharge VJ + 1, he returned to his studies.
Sergeant Leopold Heimes
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| Sergeant Leopold Heimes |
Already in the Belgian Air Force, he moved to 235 Sqn Coastal Command as an Air Gunner on Blenheims during the Battle of Britain before becoming a pilot, flying Spitfires and Catalinas with 350 Sqn before converting to 76 Sqn on Dakotas in India. Heimes stayed in the RAF until September 1951 having been gazetted as a Master Pilot. Sadly, Leopold Heimes died in 2009.
Squadron Leader Gordon Henderson DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Gordon Henderson DFC
| Squadron Leader Gordon Henderson DFC |
Gordon Henderson joined the RAF in 1941, at Lords Cricket Ground, and after training in America returned home in 1943. He was then posted to 225 Squadron in North Africa, flying Spitfire Mk IXs in Tactical and Photographic Support to the First Army, completing a total of 105 sorties. For his second tour he rejoined 225 Squadron, becoming its Commanding Officer.
Chief Test Pilot Alex Henshaw
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Chief Test Pilot Alex Henshaw
| Chief Test Pilot Alex Henshaw |
Alex Henshaw perhaps understands the Spitfire better than any other pilot - for he was Vickers Chief Test Pilot on Spitfires at the new Spitfire factory at Castle Bromwich during World War II. By the end of the war he had personally test flown a total of 2360 different Spitfires and Seafires - more than ten per cent of the entire production. It is often stated that those lucky enough to have seen Alex handle the Spitfire in flight, that it is an experience that can never be forgotten, he was acknowledged as a virtuoso in aerobatics. Alex Henshaw died 24th February 2007.
Warrant Officer Jack Hodges DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Warrant Officer Jack Hodges DFC
| Warrant Officer Jack Hodges DFC |
Jack Hodges joined the RAF in late 1940, and after completing his pilot training in Canada he returned to England and was then briefly sent to a Photo Reconnaissance Unit flying Spitfires. He moved to a OTU in Annan, Scotland on Hurricanes before finally moving to a holding unit in Redhill, flying Typhoons. In 1944 he was posted to join 175 Squadron. Shortly after this he moved to 174 Squadron at Westhampnett. He served on operations throughout occupied Europe until the end of the war, being awarded the DFC in 1945 for successfully leading a group of Typhoons against a German Armoured Division.
Flight Lieutenant Tony Holland DFC AE DFC (US)
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Tony Holland DFC AE DFC (US)
| Flight Lieutenant Tony Holland DFC AE DFC (US) |
Tony Holland flew the first spitfire to Malta from USS Wasp with 603 Squadron in April 1942. He shared in the destruction of 6 enemy aircraft.
Group Captain Albert Houle DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Group Captain Albert Houle DFC
| Group Captain Albert Houle DFC |
Flying Officer and Group Captain Albert Shorty’Ulrich Houle Jr. Born in Massey on March 24, 1914, Albert Houle went to the University of Toronto with a Bsc (science) in 1936. In 1936 he won the Canadian intercollegiate wrestling championship . After the outbreak of World War Two Albert Houle in September 1940 enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force at North Bay and received his flying wings is Saskatchewan. Along with other Canadian Pilots he joined 213 Squadron at Nicosia, Cyprus in September 1941 and remained with 213 Squadron until 1942. It was during this period that Flying Officer Albert Houle destroyed three enemy aircraft, damaged three others, and also had one probable and one shared. He was awarded the DFC on November 27, 1942. Not only did Group Captain Albert Houle fly with 213 Squadron but also 145 and 417 Squadrons, and his score of enemy aircraft was 11 destroyed, one probable and seven others damaged. Houle and his Spitfire became a legend during and after the war. He was the most successful of the many Canadian pilots who flew with the squadron during the war. His citation for his DFC reads : One evening in October, 1942, Flying Officer Houle was flying with his squadron on patrol over El Alamein when a formation of enemy dive-bombers was sighted. The enemy aircraft jettisoned their bombs and flew west in an attempt to avoid the combat. With great tenacity and determination Flying Officer Houle pursued them far over the enemies lines and in the rapidly failing light engaged and destroyed at least two of the hostile bombers, Group Captain Albert Shorty Ulrich Houle died June 1st 2008 and is buried in Ottawa Canada.
Air Vice-Marshal John Howe CB CBE AFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Air Vice-Marshal John Howe CB CBE AFC
| Air Vice-Marshal John Howe CB CBE AFC |
John Howe flew Spitfires, Mustangs and Vampires With the South African Air Force and F-5lD Mustang fighter bombers in the Korean War before joining the RAF 'to fly Hunters'. He commanded the first RAF Lightning squadron when No.74 Sqn converted from Hunters to Lightnings in 1960, and led the famous No.74 Sqn 'Tigers' nine-ship Lightning aerobatic team. He has flown all the legendary USAF 'century series' fighters, and later commanded the F-4 Phantom OCU and RAF Gutersloh.
Squadron Leader Iain Hutchinson
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Iain Hutchinson
| Squadron Leader Iain Hutchinson |
Squadron Leader Iain Hutchinson was born in Charminster. Posted to join 222 Squadron at Hornchurch, Iain Hutchinson flew with them from June 1940 throughout the Battle of Britain. He said of his experience; On our first sortie we lost half the squadron. I myself was shot down the next day. I was flying again the next day but I was shot down five times during the next month, though I didn't end up in hospital until the last time. That happened when he was shot down in flames over south west London, miraculously managing to bale out, although he was badly burned. Hutchinson was treated for burns at RAF hospital Uxbridge where he was one of the last to receive a tannic acid treatment then used for burns. He said: The acid produced great scabs that covered my face and legs while the whites of my eyes turned bright red. As the fighting grew towards its crescendo, on 30th August his Spitfire was damaged in fighting and he force landed unhurt in Essex. Returning to the fray he downed an Me109 on 6th September, another the following day, and a third a week later. On 18th September, after combat over Kent, he was forced to bale out near Canterbury, and then on 30th September following action over London he was wounded and made a forced landing at Denham. His Battle of Britain totals were three Me109 German fighters as confirmed kills, one Heinkel bomber, an Me109 and one Me110 twin-engined heavy fighter as probably destroyed and one Me109 damaged. It was Hutchinson who shot down the German Ace Oberleutenant Eckhardt Priebe, who was taken prisoner and sent to Canada Squadron leader Hutchinson conitnued his service flying reconnaissance un armed spitfires. He was on a long range mission in a specially adapted Mosquito when he was shot donw by a Me109 over Norway. He landed despite the tail being shot off and his navigator fired a Verey pistol into a pool of petrol, blowing up the Mosquito. Hutchinson spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft 3 the prisoner of war camp of Wooden Horse and Great Escape fame. After the war he returned and stayed with the RAF flying the Vampire jet aircraft and helped pioneer innovations in aircraft safety, finally retiring form the Royal Air Force in 1957. Sadly he died on April 27th 2007 in Dorchester aged 88.
Flight Lieutenant Alec A Ince
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Alec A Ince
| Flight Lieutenant Alec A Ince |
Joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in January 1941 and by midsummer he had travelled to Quebec, then to North Sidney, Nova Scotia, followed by Victoriaville, Quebec for air crew training in Oshawa, Ontario flying Tiger Moths and next to Montreal, Quebec for advanced training on Harvards. By January 1942 he arrived in Shropshire, England at an advanced flying school at RAF base Fern Hill, followed by operational training on Spitfires, marks one and two at RAF station Aston Down, near Stroud. By midsummer 1942, the training there was complete and Alec was posted to 402 Sqdn at RAF Kenley where they were occupied with escorting American bombers to Northern France on bombing expeditions, which lasted until the American Mustang and Thunderbolt fighters arrived to take over from the RAF fighter squadrons. Their duties then changed to Hit and Run raids along the south and south-east coast of England where many dog fights took place over coastal towns. The policy of the Canadian Government was to repatriate aircrews back to Canada after four years on active service and Alec was returned to the University to complete his education.
Squadron Leader Tony Iveson DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Squadron Leader Tony Iveson DFC
| Squadron Leader Tony Iveson DFC |
Tony Iveson fought in the Battle of Britain with RAF Fighter Command, as a Sergeant pilot, joining 616 Squadron at Kenley flying Spitfires on 2 September 1940. On the 16th of September, he was forced to ditch into the sea after running out of fuel following a pursuit of a Ju88 bomber. His Spitfire L1036 ditched 20 miles off Cromer in Norfolk, and he was picked up by an MTB. He joined No.92 Sqn the following month. Commissioned in 1942, Tony undertook his second tour transferring to RAF Bomber Command, where he was selected to join the famous 617 Squadron, flying Lancasters. He took part in most of 617 Squadrons high precision operations, including all three sorties against the German battleship Tirpitz, and went on to become one of the most respected pilots in the squadron.
Some of Tony Iveson's operational sorties with No.617 Squadron:
Air Commodore Ken James
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| Air Commodore Ken James |
A native of Victoria, Squadron Leader Ken James first served in the UK before going back to Australia in August 1944. He became CO of No.85 Squadron RAAF from September 1944 to March 1945, then No.790 Squadron RAAF in May 1945. Squadron Leader Ken James made the first Spitfire flight in Australia just before midday on the 25th August. He demonstrated the aircraft to an audience of assembled VIPs and film-camera men. After assembly the six aircraft were ferried up to RAAF Richmond, near Sydney, NSW. Leader Ken ‘Skeeter’ James later took charge of 457 squadron and ended the war with 2.5 victories.
Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson CB, CBE, DSO**, DFC*
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson CB, CBE, DSO**, DFC*
| Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson CB, CBE, DSO**, DFC* |
James Edgar Johnson was born in Barrow on Soar near Loughborough on 9th March 1915. He lived in Melton, the first house on the left of Welby Lane as you leave Nottingham Road, with his parents - his father being a local Police Inspector. Johnnie qualified as a Civil Engineer at Nottingham University in 1937. He joined the RAFVR and did his flying training at 21 E&RFTS, Stapleford before enlisting for full-time service in the RAF at the beginning of WWII. He first went to ITW at Jesus College, Cambridge, completed his ab initio flying at 22 EFTS, Cambridge and his intermediate and advanced flying at 5 FTS, Sealand. Johnnie Johnson joined 92 Spitfire squadron in August 1940, but it was with 616 squadron that he scored his first victory on June 26th 1941 while flying with Douglas Baders Tangmere Wing. He was squadron leader of 610 squadron in July 1942, but it was as Wing Commander of the Kenley Wing in 1943 that his scores really started to mount. He was W/C of 144 wing during D-Day and led 127 and 125 wings until the end of the war when we has the topscoring allied fighter pilot with 38 air victories. Inspired by the great British WW 1 aces like Bishop and Ball, Johnnie Johnson dreamed often as a child of becoming an R.A.F. pilot. The young Johnson enthusiastically joined the Volunteer Reserve at the first opportunity. After completing his initial flight training Johnson was posted to 616 Squadron at Kenley. However, this Squadron had been hit hard with the loss of six pilots and five wounded, and the unit was withdrawn to Coltishall prior to Johnson encountering combat. With only 12 hours of flight time in a Spitfire this was no doubt advantageous. In February 1941 Billy Burton moved the Squadron to Tangmere. Douglas Bader then arrived to take over the Tangmere Wing, and fly with the 616 Squadron. Johnnie, Alan Smith and Cocky Dundas were chosen to fly with Bader. During the summer of 1941 the Battle of Britain was at its peak. Bader took the time to instruct Johnson carefully in both the art of flying and the skills necessary to attain success in aerial combat. Baders idea of an afternoon off duty, according to Johnson, was to take his section over the Channel in hopes of running into Adolph Galland and his Abbeyville Boys. On August 19, 1941 Bader failed to return from a mission when 616 Squadron was hit hard by a group of Messerschmitt 109s. Johnson flew on in Baders absence, and in the summer of 1942 he was promoted to command of the 610 Squadron. In 1943 he was promoted again to Wing Commander of the Canadian Spitfire Wing in Kenley. By that time Johnson had attained eight confirmed victories. During the spring and summer of 1943 Johnnie led the Canadian unit on more than 140 missions over Northwest Europe. Johnsons squadron attained more than 100 victories during this period, and Johnnies own personal score rose to 25. After a short leave, Johnson was posted to lead the 144 Canadian Spitfire Wing. On D-Day Johnson led his Wing on four missions in support of the Allied invasion. On June 8, Johnsons Wing was the first Spitfire group to land in newly liberated France. Johnson continued fighting in France through September 1944 when he achieved his 38th and final victory. Patrolling the Rhine Johnsons unit jumped nine 109s which were flying beneath them in the opposite direction. Five of the 109s were downed. Early in 1945 Johnson was promoted to Group Captain and put in command of the 125 Wing, which was equipped with the Spitfire XIV. Flying from former Luftwaffe airfields the 125 Wing assisted in the final Allied push to Berlin. Johnson attributed much of his aerial combat success to his ability to make tight turning maneuvers. Johnsons tightest call came on August 19, 1942 when he was unable to dislodge an Me-109 from his tail during the raid on Diepppe. Johnson raced his Spitfire flat out at a group of Royal Navy ships. The usual barrage of flak and tracer fire came right at him, and fortunately for the ace, missed his Spitfire but effectively eliminated the brave pilot on his tail. During the Korean War Johnson flew fighter-bombers with the USAF. Following his retirement from the R.A.F. in 1966 Johnson founded the Johnnie Johnson Housing Trust that has provided homes for more than 4000 disabled and elderly persons, and his sixth book Winged Victory was published in 1995. Johnson flew many of the Spitfire models. His favorite was the beautiful Mark IX, the best of them all. Johnnie passed away in 2001 at the age of 85, in Derbyshire, England.
Air Vice Marshal Sandy Johnstone CB DFC AE DL
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| Air Vice Marshal Sandy Johnstone CB DFC AE DL |
Early in 1938, Johnstone was a civilian navigation instructor at Scottish Aviation, moving later to the Civil Air Navigation School at Prestwick. In August 1939 he was called to full-time service with 602 Squadron. After some Spitfire engagements off the Scottish coast, he received command of 602 - he was still only 24 - and led it south to the tiny airfield at West Hampnett, in West Sussex, where it was stationed throughout the Battle of Britain. Sandy was in command of no. 602 squadron during the critical days of the Battle of Britain, flying with the squadron before the war though to 1941, when he was posted to the Middle east, he also served with 229 and 249 squadrons in Malta during the Islands most fateful days of the war. Sandy became a successful author and resided near Ipswich in Suffolk. Sandy Johnstone died 13th December 2000, aged 84.
Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross :
Acting Squadron Leader Alexander Vallance Riddell JOHNSTONE (90163), Auxiliary Air Force.
This officer has proved himself to be a leader of ability and determination and has been mainly responsible for the high standard of morale in his squadron. He has destroyed four enemy aircraft of which one was shot down at night.
Flight Lieutenant Richard L Jones
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| Flight Lieutenant Richard L Jones |
Richard Jones was born in 1918 and in July 1940 Richard Jones was posted to 64 Squadron at Kenley, flying Spitfires. He was involved in heavy fighting over the Channel during the Battle of Britain, with the squadron suffering many losses during July and August. Towards the end of the Battle of Britain, in October, he moved to 19 Squadron flying Spitfires from Fowlmere, and was heavily involved in the fighter sweeps taking place at that time. Near the end of the Battle of Britain, Pilot Officer Richard Jones was shot down during a dogfight over Kent with Me 109s. Jones crash landed his Spitfire in a field, colliding with a flock of sheep - he would go on to write in his log book Crashed into a load of sheep. What a bloody mess!After the Battle of Britain, Richard Jones became a test pilot for De Havilland at Witney in Oxfordshire, and test flew thousands of Hawker Hurricanes and other types, including civil types. After the war Richard Jones joined the RAFVR and started a long career in the motor industry. Sadly Richard Jones passed away on 7th March 2012.
Wing Commander Terence Kane
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Wing Commander Terence Kane
| Wing Commander Terence Kane |
Kane joined the RAF on July 25 1938 on a short service commission. During his flying training he was injured in an Audax crash and admitted to hospital, however he was able to complete his training and was posted to CFS, Upavon, for an instructor's course, after which he joined the staff at 14 FTS, Kinloss and later Cranfield. He went to 7 OTU, Hawarden in July 1940, converted to Spitfires and joined 234 Squadron on September 14th. He shared in the destruction of a Ju88 on the 22nd. The next day he failed to return from a routine section patrol. His Spitfire was damaged in combat off the French coast and he baled out at 6,000 feet and was picked up from the sea and captured by the Germans. Before being shot down, he destroyed a Bf109. He was freed in May 1945 and stayed in the RAF until 1950. He rejoined the RAF in April 1954, serving in the Fighter Control Branch, and retired in 1974.
Wing Commander Don Kingaby DSO AFC DFM** DFC (USA)
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| Wing Commander Don Kingaby DSO AFC DFM** DFC (USA) |
Born in London on 7th January 1920. Joined the RAFVR in April 1939 at the age of 20. He flew a Mk.I Spitfire with No.266 Squadron during the initial stages of the Battle of Britain, claiming as damaged two Ju88s and an Me110. He then joined No.92 Squadron in September 1940, claiming 4 aircraft (including 3 Me109s) in October, then 6 more Me109s in November 1940, including 4 in a single day on the 15th. He claimed a further 12 victories during 1941, before joining No.111 Sqn and No.64 Sqn in March and April 1942 correspondingly. He later joined No.122 Squadron, and was promoted to lead the Hornchurch wing in March 1943. On D-Day, he claimed the final addition to his total, sharing in the destruction of an Me109. He was the only RAF pilot to be awarded three DFMs, and scored a total of 23 victories and 8 probables. His Air Force Cross medal was awarded in 1952 for his work with Vampire jets. He retired in 1958. Sadly, he passed away on 31st December 1990.
Group Captain Brian Kingcome DSO DFC
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| Group Captain Brian Kingcome DSO DFC |
Brian Fabris Kingcome was born in Calcutta on May 31st 1917. Brian Kingcome was educated at Bedford and in 1936 entered the RAF College, Cranwell. Soon after he began his pilot course he was seriously injured in a car accident and was told by the RAF medical board that he would never fly again as he was expected to suffer permanent double vision. But after months in hospital and with Brians strength of character he proved the board wrong. In 1938 he was posted to No 65, a biplane Gladiator fighter squadron based at Hornchurch. Brian Kingcome took part in the Battles of France and Dunkirk but transferred to 92 Squadron as a flight commander and flying Spitfires in May 1940 scoring his first victories in June 1940. Brian Kingcome became acting commanding officer during the latter stages of the Battle of Britain. During this time he and his pilots achieved the highest success rate of any squadron in the entire Battle of Britain. After being shot down by Me109s and wounded, he returned to active operations. In February 1942 he was posted to command 72 Squadron, followed by promotion to Wing Leader at Kenley. In May 1943 he was posted to lead 244 Wing in the Mediterranean during the invasion of Sicily. An Ace, Brian Kingcome flew Spitfires in combat continually until the end of 1944, his tally finishing at 8 and 3 shared destroyed, plus a score of probables and damaged. One of the prewar Cranwell elite, Brian Kingcome was to become one ofthe Second World Wars great fighter leaders, alongside such immortals as Douglas Bader, Bob Stanford Tuck and Johnnie Johnson. At the outbreak of war he was serving in 65 Squadron, but in May 1940 was posted to 92 Squadron as flight commander. On 25 May he shared a Do 17 and on 2 June destroyed two He l l Is and damaged a third. He shared a Ju 88 with two others on I0 July, and again on the 24th. On 9 September he probably destroyed a Bf 110 and two days later shot down a He 111. On the 14th he damaged another. He shot down a Bf 109 on the 23rd and next day probably destroyed another and damaged a Ju 88. Three days later he shared a Ju 88 again, damaged two others, probably destroyed a Do 17, and damaged one of these also. Around this time he was awarded a DFC for six victories, and on 11 October got a Bf 109 He claimed another next day, and also damaged one. In 1941 he became commanding officer, having frequently led the squadron. It will be noted that he claimed many probables and damaged during the Battle of Britain, and this was due to his view that it was more important to hit as many as possible than to try and confirm victories. On 16 June 1941 lie probably destroyed a Bf 109, and on 24 July shot one down. He was then rested until late in the year, when he was posted to command 72 Squadron, and in February 1942 gave escort cover to the Fleet Air Arm pilot Eugene Esmonde, who won the VC trying to attack German capital ships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and and the cruiser ‘Prinz Eugen’ with Swordfish during the Channel Dash. In atrocious weather Kingcome caught a fleeting glimpse of tbe Scharnhorst - Oh what a beautiful battleboat! he exclaimed, just as a shell made a hole the size of a dustbin lid in his port wing. During 1941 he received a Bar to his DFC, having brought his score to 10. He was promoted to lead the Kenley wing, and on 15 April 1942 damaged a Fw 190. He probably destroyed a Bf 109 on 28 May, and during the year was awarded a DSO, having added another victory to his score. In 1943 he was posted to North Africa to lead 244 Wing, and lead this for 18 months, becoming a Gp. Capt. after the invasion of Italy. By the end of his stay with the wing he had brought his score to 18, and was then posted as SASO of a Liberator group, and flew an operation as a waist gunner over northern Yugoslavia after taking up this appointment. Sadly Group Captain Brian Kingcome passed away aged 76 in 1994.
Squadron Leader Franciszek Kornicki
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| Squadron Leader Franciszek Kornicki |
Posted in 1939 to 3rd Fighter Wing in Lwow as part of the Polish Air Force. This area was soon overrun by Germans so he travelled to England to join 303 Polish Sqn on Spitfires and also served with 308, 315 and 317 Squadrons carrying out many fighter sweeps over France and occupied Europe.
Squadron Leader Ginger Lacey DFM
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| Squadron Leader Ginger Lacey DFM |
James Harry Lacey, from Wetherby, who was destined to become the top scoring RAF fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain, joined the RAFVR. in 1937. After an instructors course in 1938 he became an instructor at the Yorkshire Aeroplane Club. Called up at the outbreak of war, he was posted to 501 Squadron, and in May 1940 was posted with the unit to France. On the 13th he set off late on an early patrol, and shot down a Bf 109 and a He 111. Later in the day he destroyed a Bf 110. On the 27th he destroyed two He 11 Is and then returned to the United Kingdom, in June, having made an emergency landing in a swamp on the 9th and overturned, nearly being drowned. On 20 July he shot down a 13f 109, and was then awarded a DFM. In the Battle of Britain, during August, he destroyed a Ju 87 and a probable on the 12th, damaged a Do 17 on the 15th, probably destroyed a Bf 109 on the 16th, and on the 24th shot down a Ju 88 and damaged a Do 17. On the 29th he destroyed a 13f 109 and next day claimed a He 111 and probablya Bf110. He shot down a Bf109 on the 31st and on 2 September got two Bf 109s and damaged a Do 17. Two days later he destroyed two more Bf 109s, and was then sent on leave for a few days. on his return, on the 13th, he took off in very bad weather to shoot down a lone He 111 which had just bombed Buckingham Palace. Having destroyed it, he found the cloud too thick to return to base and was forced to bale out. On the 15th he shot down another He 111 and two Bf 109s with a third damaged, on the 27th destroyed another Bf 109 and on the 30th damaged a Ju 88. During October he was in action frequently against Bf 109s, getting a probable on the 7th and destroying others on the 12th, 26th, and the 30th, damaging one also on this latter date. His score was now 23, and he had been shot down or forced to bale out nine times. Of his victories 18 were gained during the Battle of Britain, and this was the highest score of any pilot for this period. In December he received a Bar to his DFM and was commissioned the following month. He converted to Spitfires early in 1941, and in June became a flight commander. During July he destroyed a Bf 109 on the 10th, damaged one on the 14th, shot down a He 59 floatplane on the 17th and destroyed two more Bf 109s on the 24th, causing them to collide. He was then posted as an instructor to 57 OTU where he trained, among others, George Beurling. In March 1942 he was posted to 602 Squadron, and on 24th March damaged a Fw 190. On 25 April he damaged two more, but was then posted to HQ 81 Group as Tactics Officer, now as a Sqn. Ldr. He spent some while testing Hurricanes with rocket projectiles and 40 mm. anti-tank guns, and then became Chief Flying Instructor at Millfield. In March 1943 he was sent to India, and first was responsible for converting squadrons to Hurricanes at Madras. He then moved to Bangalore, where he converted Hurricane pilots to Thunderbolts. In September 1944 he was posted to 3 TAC at Komila as Sqn. Ldr. Tactics, and the following month attended an Air Fighting Instructors Course at Armarda Road, which was run by Wg. Cdr. F.R. Carey. In November he became temporary commanding officer of 155 Squadron, flying Spitfire 8s in Burma, but later that month took command of 17 Squadron, equipped with the same aircraft. His squadron was responsible for giving ground support to a Gurkha regiment, so he ordered his pilots to have their heads shaved in the Gurkha fashion, which proved to be a very popular move. On 19 February 1945 he shot down a Nakajima Ki 43 Oscar, his twenty-eighth and last victory. He died on 30th May 1989.
Citation for award of Distinguished Flying Medal, awarded 23rd August 1940 :
Citation for award of Bar to the Distinguished Flying Medal, awarded 26th November 1940 :
Flight Lieutenant R G (Bob) Large, DFC, Legion d Honneur
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| Flight Lieutenant R G (Bob) Large, DFC, Legion d Honneur |
Learned to fly in Scotland in 1940 and in 1941 joined 616 Squadron as part of the Tangmere Wing, commanded by the famous legless pilot Wing Commander Douglas Bader. The Squadron flew Fighter and Bomber sweeps over Northern France. The remains of Bobs Spitfire lie at the bottom of the sea ten miles off Hythe (where he now lives) after being bounced by eighty plus ME 109Gs over the English Channel. Having learned of the activities of 161 SD Squadron he was interviewed by the CO, Wing Commander Lewis Hodges, and joined the Lysander Flight. He then flew many important missions into occupied France in single, double and a memorable treble pickup when his excuse for being late at the rendezvous was that he had had a haircut in the firms time because it grew in the firms time! After D-Day he returned to Fighter Command and later flew Meteors. (Bobs dog, Patrick, became the first dog in the Allied Forces to fly in a jet which took place in a Meteor 3 on 11th May 1946 and is now recorded in the Guinness Book of Records!)
Squadron Leader Keith Lawrence DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Squadron Leader Keith Lawrence DFC
| Squadron Leader Keith Lawrence DFC |
Keith Lawrence was born in New Zealand at Waitara on November 25th 1919. After attending Southland Boys High School at Invercargill, Lawrence went to work in a local bank in December 1936. In November 1938 he applied to join the RAF and was accepted for pilot training in Britain and sailed in February 1939. In November 1939 Keith Lawrence completed his flying training and joined the newly-formed 234 Squadron, which flew Spitfires throughout the Battle of Britain. Whilst based at St Eval in Cornwall, Lawrence shared 234s first victory on 8th July 1940 with the destruction of a Ju88 which was attacking a convoy in the Western Approaches. 234 Squadron was posted to Middle Wallop on 15 August. On 15 September Lawrence was posted to 603 Squadron at Hornchurch, and on 8 October moved to 421 Flight at Gravesend, a unit which early the following year became 91 Squadron. During the Battle of Britain he destroyed two enemy aircraft and damaged four others. Whilst on a weather reconnaissance on 26 November 1940, Lawrences Spitfire was shot down by ME 109s, his Spitfire breaking up and throwing him clear to parachute into the sea. Lawrence was picked up by a RNLI lifeboat, and having suffered severe leg injuries and a dislocated arm, was taken to hospital. He returned to 91 Squadron on the 16th of January 1942. On the 17th of February 1942 Lawrence was posted to 185 Squadron in Malta. At this time, the island’s capital Valetta and its airfields were suffering almost constant bombardment from bombers with fighter escorts which generally considerably outnumbered the defending fighters. While in Malta, Lawrence was promoted to squadron commander. The Squadron flew Hurricanes until Spitfires arrived on 9 May. Lawrence returned to the UK from Malta at the end of June 1942, and began a long period as an instructor. He served at three different Operational Training Units, and after receiving training at the Central Gunnery School at Sutton Bridge, became a gunnery instructor flying Spitfires. Lawrence returned to operations with 124 Squadron from early February until the end of April 1945. The unit had been successfully intercepting German reconnaissance aircraft at 50,000 feet plus, using Spitfire VIIs with pressurised cockpits, flying from Manston. As Lawrence arrived, it was re-equipping with Spitfire IX’s to carry out dive-bombing attacks on V2 sites around The Hague from RAF Coltishall. After each aircraft had dropped its 1000 lb bomb-load, it flew on to captured airfields in Belgium, and refuelled and re-armed, before bombing targets again during the return flight to Coltishall. The unit also carried out daylight escorts for bombers raiding into Germany. From the end of August 1945 Lawrence flew Meteors with 124 Squadron until he was released from the RAF in March 1946. He returned to New Zealand and settled in Christchurch but later returned to Britain.
Air Commodore James Leathart
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| Air Commodore James Leathart |
After flight training, he joined No.54 Squadron flying Gauntlets. He became the commanding officer of No.54 Squadron as they re-equipped with Spitfire MkIs. In a remarkable event, he was awarded the DSO when he rescued the stranded CO of No.74 Sqn. Commandeering a Miles Master training aircraft, he flew to France escorted by other pilots from No.54 Sqn, and rescued the CO before returning across the Channel. It was for this action that he was awarded the DSO in June 1940. Died in 1998.
Citation for the DSO
During May, 1940, this officer led his squadron on a large number of offensive patrols over- Northern France. On one occasion an attack was made on a formation of no less than 60 enemy aircraft. In company with his squadron he has shot down fifteen Messerschmitts, and possibly one Heinkel in and one Junkers 88, during the period mentioned. He also flew a trainer aircraft to Calais Marck aerodrome to rescue a squadron commander who had been shot down there but was uninjured. Whilst taking off, after the rescue, an attack was made by twelve Messerschmitt 109s but with great coolness and skilful evasive tactics Flight Lieutenant Leathart succeeded in shaking off the enemy and landing again without damage. Subsequently, he took off and flew back to England unescorted. This officer has displayed great courage, determination and splendid leadership.
Squadron Leader Arthur Leigh DFC, DFM
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| Squadron Leader Arthur Leigh DFC, DFM |
Another RAFVR pilot, The son of a regular soldier, Arthur Leigh was called up at the outbreak of war. After finishing his flying training he was posted to 7 OTU and then on to convert to Spitfires in August 1940. Arthur Leigh flew with 64 Squadron at Leconfield and 72 Squadron at Biggin Hill during the Battle of Britain before transferring to 611 Squadron. Awarded the DFM in September 1941, Leigh had then completed 50 sweeps, had destroyed two Bf 109s, probably destroyed another four and shared in the destruction of a Do 17. After a spell instructing and ferrying Hurricanes from Gibraltar to Cairo, he returned to operations with 56 Squadron flying Typhoons from Manston. He was shot down on his first sweep by flak, near Calais but was picked up by an ASR launch. In late 1943 Leigh was posted to 129 Squadron at Hornchurch and was awarded the DDC on completing his second tour in December 1944, spending the rest of the war as an instructor.
Warrant Officer John Abe Lincoln
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| Warrant Officer John Abe Lincoln |
Born in 1923, Abe Lincoln joined the RAF in August 1942, spending two years training in India and Rhodesia. After training he was posted back to the UK, flying first Spitfires and then on Typhoons with 175 Squadron. The squadron was by then heavily involved with softening up targets with rockets ahead of the armies advance and close support duties at the front as the allies advanced through France into Germany. He remained with the squadron until the end of the war.
Wing Commander James Lindsay DFC
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| Wing Commander James Lindsay DFC |
Born in September 1922, James Doug Lindsay joined the RCAF in February 1941, training on Harvards. He was posted to the UK, arriving in March 1943 and joining 403 Sqn in October that year. In his first tour, he claimed 5 Me109s as well as 2 Fw190s, plus another damaged. Of the Me109s he shot down, three of these were in a single minute, earning him a DFC. For his second tour, he rejoined 403 Sqn in April 1945, claiming a probable Fw190 during his short time with this squadron before he moved to 416 squadron until the end of the war in Europe. After the war he stayed with the air force, and in 1952 served during the Korean war with the USAF. He flew F-86 Sabres with the 39th Fighter Squadron of the 51st Fighter Wing, claiming victories over two MiG-15s and damaging 3 others. In 1953, he returned to the UK with No.1 Fighter Wing leading Sabres in formation at the Queen's Coronation. He retired in 1972, having flown more than 30 different types of aircraft (excluding different Mks). These included, Harvard, Anson, Master, Spitfire, Typhoon, Tempest, Hurricane, Mustang, Beaufort, Beaufighter, Oxford, Dakota, Tiger Moth, Vampire and Sabre.
Flight Lieutenant Derek Lovell
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| Flight Lieutenant Derek Lovell |
Volunteered for the RAFVR in January 1941. He trained in Canada on Tiger Moths and Oxfords. He received his wings in April 1942 and was posted to Central Flying School. Following graduation, he taught Fleet Air Arm trainees on Harvards. He returned to the UK in March 1943 and flew Masters at AFU and Hurricanes at OTU. He taught Lancaster crews fighter evasion prior to posting to 84 GSU to fly Typhoons. He joined 197 Squadron at Needs Oar Point in the New Forest in June 1944 and was involved in close support operations and tactical dive bombing and low level bombing throughout the Normandy campaign and on through to VE-Day. He completed 135 operations and in August 1945 was posted to an OTU to instruct on Typhoons and Tempest Vs. He was demobbed in June 1946 and flew weekends in the VR on Tiger Moths and later Chipmunks. He was called up on the G Reserve in July 1951 and flew Harvards, Spitfire XXIIs and then Vampire Vs. He stood down in September as the Korea situation eased.
Lt Gen George Loving
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| Lt Gen George Loving |
George Loving first saw combat in 1943, and flew over 100 missions in Spitfires before the 31st Fighter Group converted to the P-51. He took part in air battles over Italy, France, Germany and many other European countries while serving in the Mediterranean Theater, becoming an Ace in the P-51. During the Korean War he commanded an F-80 Squadron flying 113 missions against the North Koreans and Chinese communist forces before retiring to the U.S.A. as a test pilot. He retired in 1979 as Commander, 5th Air Force in Japan.
Wing Commander Laddie Lucas CBE DSO DFC
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| Wing Commander Laddie Lucas CBE DSO DFC |
Laddie Lucas rose in two years from Aircraftman 2nd class to Command no. 249, the top scoring fighter squadron in the Battle of Malta in 1942. He was then 26. Lucas led two Spitfire squadrons and in 1943 a wing on the Western Front. 1944 switching to Mosquitoes of the 2nd tactical air force. After the war he was a conservative MP for ten years. He was also one of Britains best amateur golfers, captaining Cambridge University, England in the Walker Cup, Great Britain and Ireland against the United States, to date he has written eleven books. Sadly Laddie Lucas passed away in 1998.
Flight Lieutenant Ian MacLennan DFM
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| Flight Lieutenant Ian MacLennan DFM |
Canadian Ian Maclennan joined the RCAF in October 1940, arriving in England in August 1941. He joined 610 Squadron in February 1942, then 401 Sqn, where he destroyed an Fw190. Posted to Malta, he flew his Spitfire off HMS Eagle on 9th June, and shortly after transferred to 1435 Flight. On Malta he claimed 7 victories and was awarded the DFM. He was commissioned, becoming a flight commander in November. In December he returned to England. In February 1944 he joined 433 Squadron as a flight commander. On 7th June he was hit by ground fire whilst covering the Normandy beaches, crash landed, and was taken POW.
Flt. Lt. Peter May
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| Flt. Lt. Peter May |
Peter May was under training as a pilot in the Civil Air Guard at Weston Super Mare on the 3d September 1939 and was immediately accepted for further training with the RAF at Downing College, Cambridge. In June 1940 he was posted to a holding unit at Hernswell, near Lincoln, from which Hampden aircraft were employed in dropping leaflets over Germany. This aerodrome was subjected to one of the first, possibly the first, bombing raid on England by the Germans. Peter went solo on a Magister monoplane at Kingsdown Aerodrome, Chester on the 26 th June 1940. On the 1st July he suffered an engine failure over the Solway Firth, but managed to force land safely. As a reward for this safe landing he was one of six fortunate pupils on the Course of 52 to be selected for training as fighter pilots. His first solo flight in a Spitfire 1 at Hawardene Operational Unit, was on the 10th December 1940. A few days later flying over Liverpool in poor visibility, the engine failed. He decided to pancake in the Mersey but fortunately at the last minute he saw a field alongside. By using his emergency pressure bottle to lower the undercarriage quickly he managed to force land safely. Spitfire 1 aircraft undercarriage had to be raised and lowered manually. In January 1941 with only 20 hours experience on Spitfires he was posted to Sailor Malan's 74 Squadron based at Biggin Hill and later at Manston. This squadron was engaged in protecting the Channel convoys, the south-coast radar stations and the Lysanders on rescue missions over the North Sea. Returning from operational patrol over the Channel on the 21st April 1941, Peter crash-landed at Manston Aerodrome. he was taken to Margate General Hospital suffering from concussion and a broken leg. During the latter part of 1941 Peter was appointed Aerodrome Control Pilot at Manston and recommenced flying non-operationaily in December 1941. In June 1942 he moved to No. 1 Squadron at Tangmere, flying Hurricanes and mainly engaged in sweeps over France. In July it was decided to convert No. 1 squadron into a Night Fighter Squadron. As Peter's nightflying experience was limited he was sent on a Beam Approach Course at Watchfield. Peter was commissioned in 1943 and in 1944 was appointed C.O. of a Communications Flight on the island of Orkney. In July 1945 he joined 286 Hurricane Squadron at Weston Zoyland, Somerset, flying mostly at night. His completed his flying career as Naval Liaison Officer with 667 Squadron at Gosport, flying Spitfire XV1 s. Peter amassed 1687 flying hours, including 110 in Spitfires and 55 in Hurricanes.
Flight Lieutenant Walter Le May DFC
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| Flight Lieutenant Walter Le May DFC |
Flight Lieutenant Walter Le May DFC joined the R.A.F. in 1941,and trained as an Observer in Canada, joining 140 Squadron, Army Co-operation Command, at Hartford Bridge (now Blackbushe). The squadron, engaged on photo- reconnaissance, was unique in that one flight was equipped with Spitfires while a second flight, converting from Blenheims to Lockheed Venturas, was used for night operations. In June 1943 the squadron became part of the 34 Wing 2nd Tactical Air Force, and later converted to Mosquito 1X & XV1. Mainly involved in night operations, he, with his pilot, F/Lt Ray Batenburg DFC, R.N.Z.A.F., crossed the French coast a few minutes after midnight on D-Day, and took photographs of key points, followed by nearly 2 hours of low-level visual reconnaissance, at heights down to 200 feet. After operational flying he was appointed Night Ops. Controller 34 Wing, and, afterwards Ops. Controller at H.Q. 2 Group, Gutersloh.
Major General Carroll W McColpin
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| Major General Carroll W McColpin |
Carroll Warren McColpin was born in Buffalo, New York on November 15th 1914 and was raised and educated in Los Angeles. Carroll McColpin participated in civilian flying activities in Los Angeles, he started to learn to fly in 1928 and in 1936 obtained his pilots certificate. As a young man, he had built his own airplane and taught himself the basics of stick flying and aerial acrobatics by the age of sixteen. Carroll Red McColpin volunteered for the RAF in 1940 despite official US disapproval, going via Canada to England. After serving with No.607 Squadron, he became the second Eagle Ace after shooting down two ME-109s on October 2, 1941 and is the only pilot known to have fought in aerial combat to a draw - with Werner Molders, the high-scoring German Ace. Red McColpin commanded 133 Eagle Squadron up to the transfer to the USAAF in September, 1942, General McColpin was the only American to fly combat in all three RAF American Eagle Squadrons. His total missions in these Squadrons exceeded three hundred counting the ones he flew with the 607. He was a double ace before Pearl Harbor and was the first American to be decorated, in Buckingham Palace by King George during World War II. McColpin joined the 4th Figher Group. He later led the 404th Fighter Group in support of the D-Day invasion and the drive across Europe. In 400 missions, he recorded 11.5 victories and collected 29 awards for gallantry. Following the war, McColpin remained in the Air Force, serving in several command and senior staff positions, ultimately becoming the commander of the 4th Air Force. He retired as a Major General in August, 1968. Sadley Major General Carroll Warren McColpin passed away on November 28, 2003.
Sqn Ldr Jurek Mencel DFC, KM*** AFM***
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| Sqn Ldr Jurek Mencel DFC, KM*** AFM*** |
Flying with the French Air Force he fought in the Battle of France but was hospitalised after breaking his back in a crash in mid-1940. Returning to operations with 317 Polish Sqn, his first mission was on Spitfires escorting the RAF Bombers taking part in the engagement that lead to the German ‘Channel Dash’. He flew Spitfires throughout the Normandy Invasion also flying Hurricanes and Mustangs with 308 and 309 Sqn’s scoring victories against Me109's and Me108's and on the 9th April 1945 he shot down an Me262 Jet over Hamburg.
Wing Commander Robert G Middlemiss DFC CD
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| Wing Commander Robert G Middlemiss DFC CD |
Bob was born in Montreal in 1920 and was educated at Commercial High School of Montreal. After graduating from high school Bob Middlemiss accepted a track scholarship from an American College but war broke out and he volunteered to join the RCAF. He was told when an opening was available he would be called. In the interim, his Dad's Regiment, of which he was the RQSM, the 17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars was mobilized as the 3rd Canadian Motorcycle Regiment. Bob decided to join as a trooper but was called by the Air Force and a few months later joined the RCAF on September 14, 1940. He received his flying training at 13 EFTS, St. Eugene, ON and 9 SFTS, Summerside, PEI where he received his wings. He was posted overseas and trained on Spitfires at 57 OTU, Hawarden, Cheshire. He was posted to 145 Squadron and then later to 41 Squadron. They carried out operations consisting of air defence patrols against high level and low level fighter bomber attacks, convoy patrols in the English Channel, fighter sweeps, bomber escort and low level rhubarbs. In June 1942, he was selected to serve with a team of Spitfire pilots posted to Malta. They were taken to within 700 miles of Malta on the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle and then launched to hopefully make the island. During his tour with 249 Squadron on Malta Bob shot down and destroyed three enemy aircraft and damaged two others before he was shot down and wounded. After recuperating, he served as an Instructor at 52 OTU and then 53 OTU in England. From the OTU he was posted to 403 Squadron, part of the 127 Wing commanded by Johnnie Johnson, the highest scoring ace of WWII. Bob had the honour of flying as his number 2 on a number of sorties. After completing two tours of operations he returned to Canada and instructed on Hurricanes and Mosquitos.
Colonel Middlemiss was decorated for his war effort with the Distinguished Flying Cross the citation read as follows:
This officer completed two tours of operational duty and has completed sorties from Malta and the United Kingdom. He has destroyed three enemy aircraft and damaged others. His standard of leadership as a section leader and flight commander has always been high and he has invariably shown outstanding courage.
Major Michael Miluck
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| Major Michael Miluck |
American volunteer Michael Miluck arrived in the UK in September 1941, and was posted to join 71 Eagle Squadron. Flying Spitfire Mk Vbs the squadron was engaged in escort and offensive fighter sweeps over the channel and northern France, taking part in the air cover over Dieppe. Later he flew Hurricanes with 250 Squadron.
Flight Lieutenant Eric Moore AE
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| Flight Lieutenant Eric Moore AE |
Originally serving in the Army, he was involved in the Battle of Dunkirk before volunteering for the RAF in 1941 and joining 501 Sqn on Spitfires. Spending time in the Middle East and West Africa, he also spent time with 601 Sqn
Sergeant Butch Morton
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| Sergeant Butch Morton |
Bob Morton has the honour of a nickname personally bestowed on him by Bader, apparently referring to his modest 5 foot 3 inch height! Like Bader he was shot down over St Omer, on July 9 1941, a month before the Wing Leader. Joining the RAFVR just before the outbreak of war, Morton unusually, did his elementary flying training on Blackburn B2s which he considered far superior to Tiger Moths. After conversion to Spitfires he was posted to 74 Squadron, but in spite of valiant efforts he was not able to operate during the Battle of Britain, transferring to 616 in September 1940. Douglas Bader led the Tangmere Wing from March 1941, always flying with 616 Squadron. Morton clearly remembers Baders invigorating leadership style, but as a young Sergeant Pilot he had little personal contact with him.
Air Commodore Mickey Mount CBE DSO DFC
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| Air Commodore Mickey Mount CBE DSO DFC |
Flying Officer C.J Mount joined NO.602 squadron on August 8th 1940 after a brief conversion course on Spitfires. On August 18th his Spitfire L1005 was severely damaged in combat with JU 87s and BF109s over Ford. Micky was unhurt. he again escaped injury when his Spitfire X4270 was damaged landing at Tangmere. he served in many of the theatres of WW2 and he flew Hurricanes in Malta and North Africa and Wellingtons in the Middle east. Micky retired and lived in Ascot in Berkshire. He died 4th August 2002.
Lt Stanislaw Nawarski DFC KM
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| Lt Stanislaw Nawarski DFC KM |
Polish pilot Stanislaw Nawwarski flew with the French Air Force, but escaped to England after the fall of France in 1940 and joined the RAF. Just prior to the Battle of Britain he was injured after being shot down whilst ferrying an unarmed Hurricane. In 1941, back in action, he was posted to 302 Polish Squadron flying Spitfires. He flew Spitfires om D-Day and throughout the subsequent Allied advance through Normandy, scoring four victories, all Me109s.
Lieutenant Colonel Don Nee
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| Lieutenant Colonel Don Nee |
Don Nee flew Spitfires with 152 and 64 Squadrons RAF before being unified with other Americans into the first Eagle Squadron, No.71. He transferred to the 4th Fighter Group's 336th Fighter Squadron in September 1942 and flew 119 missions in P-47s and P-51s, becoming a flight commander.
Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC* AFC
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| Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC* AFC |
Tom Neil was born on 14th July 1920 in Bootle, Lancashire. Tom Neil (also to become known in the RAF as 'Ginger') joined the RAFVR in October 1938 and began his flying training at 17 E and RFTS, Barton, Manchester. Tom Neil was called up on the 2nd os September 1939 being sent to 4 ITW, Bexhill in early November. On 1st December 1939, he was posted to 8 FTS and on completion of the course he was commissioned and posted to 249 Squadron in May 1940 flying Hurricanes just before the start of the Battle of Britain flying from North Weald. On 7th September 1940, Tom Neil encountered and claimed a Bf109 destroyed. On the 11th an He111, on the 15th two Bf109s and a Do17 destroyed and another Do17 shared, on the 18th an He111 damaged and on the 27th a Bf110 and a Ju88 destroyed, a Bf110 probably destroyed and a Ju88 shared. On 6th October Tom Neil shared a Do17, on the 25th claimed a Bf109 destroyed, on the 27th a Do17 probably destroyed, on the 28th a Ju88 shared and on 7th November a Ju87 and two Bf109s destroyed. He was awarded a DFC on 8 October, but on 7 November, after claiming 3 victories over the North Sea off the Essex coast, he collided in mid-air with Wing Commander Francis Beamish and his aircraft lost its tail. He baled out of his Hurricane unhurt, Beamish force-landing unscathed. Tom received a Bar to his DFC on 26 November, and on 13 December was promoted flight Commander. The squadron was posted to Malta in May 1941, flying off HMS Ark Royal on the 21st. During a summer of frequent scrambles, he claimed one further victory in June, while on 7th October he led a fighter-bomber attack on Gela station, Sicily. He departed the island in December 1941, returning to the UK via the Middle East, South and West Africa, and Canada, finally arriving in March 1942, when he became tactics officer with 81 Group. A spell as an instructor at 56 OTU, before being posted as a flying liaison officer with the 100th Fighter Wing of the US 9th Air Force in January 1944. He managed to get some flying in over France with this unit, claiming a share in 6 aircraft destroyed on the ground before D-Day, and a dozen or so more later, plus a number of other ground targets. In January 1945 he was sent to the school of Land/Air Warfare as an instructor. In March 1945 he was posted out to Burma, where he undertook some operations with 1 Wing, Indian Air Force, to gain experience of the operations in this area. Returning to the UK in April, he resumed instructing at the school until the end of the year. In January 1946 he attended the Empire Test Pilots School, undertaking No.4 short course and No.5 course, a total of 18 months. Posted briefly to Farnborough, he sought a move to Boscombe Down, where he stayed for some 3 years. In 1948 in went to Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, to take part in the first high altitude pressure suit experiments, as a precursor to the aerospace programme. 1950-51 he was a staff officer at HQ, Fighter Command, while in 1952 he attended the staff college at Bracknell. He was then given command of 208 Squadron in Egypt, which he led until 1956, leaving just before the Suez operation. He returned to the UK to become W/Cdr Operations, Metropolitan sector, until 1958, when he attended the flying college at Manby. He went to the British Embassy in Washington for 3 years from 1959, returning to the Ministry of Defence but retiring from the service as a Wing Commander in 1964. Meanwhile he had added the US Bronze Star to his decorations in august 1947, and an AFC in January 1956.
Flt Lt Frank Newman
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| Flt Lt Frank Newman |
Flight Lieutenant Newman left O.T.U. to join 131 Squadron at Tangmere in time to participate in the closing months of the Battle of Britain. As the enemy activity diminished so the policy of Fighter Command turned to offensive sweeps over western France. By the end of 1942 the A.O.C decided to give the squadrons of 11 Group a rest from their intensive operations, so 131 Squadron was posted to northern Scotland to defend Scapa Flow naval base. This routine series of operations came to an end when Frank was chosen, together with a number of other experienced pilots, to form a fighter wing for the invasion of North Africa. My mid-1943 Rommel and the African Corps had been swept out of Algeria and Tunisia by General Montgomery and the Eighth Army. After a short rest the Desert Air Force was heavily engaged in the invasion of Sicily and Italy. By this time Frank was transferred to join the already famous 92 Squadron where he was pleased to come under the command of such experienced pilots as Group Captain Brian Kingcome and Squadron Leader Neville Duke. For the next few months 92 Squadron was heavily involved in a twice-weekly patrol over the Anzio Bridgehead where they occasionally met small units of the Luftwaffe. It was at this point that the squadron was hoping to score its 300th enemy aircraft destroyed. This happened on the 17th February 1944 and it was time for a squadron celebration! The enemy continued to appear in small numbers and later in the year whilst leading a dusk patrol Frank Newman and his fellow pilots were able to add to this score so that by the end of the campaign the total score reached 317½ definitely destroyed and over 200 probably destroyed. Any further increase in this number of victories was made impossible when the squadron was switched to fighter/bombers in late 1944; for this, tactics were so different. Each Spitfire carried a 500lb bomb and was given a map reference for his target by the army ground force. After the war Fl. Lt. Newman was sent on a training course to be become a Test Pilot. Upon completion of the course he was appointed Test Pilot at the R.A.F.’s biggest maintenance units (132 M.U.) where he enjoyed the privilege of flying thirty-one different types of aircraft.
Air Marshal Sir John Nicholls KCB CBE DFC AFC
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| Air Marshal Sir John Nicholls KCB CBE DFC AFC |
A Korean war veteran with 2 MiG kills in F-86 Sabres, in April 1952 Nicholls was sent to the US to convert to the F-86 Sabre before joining a USAF squadron in Korea. He was assigned to the 335th Fighter Interceptor Squadron operating from Kimpo airfield near Seoul and over the next six months he completed 100 operations On June 28th 1952 John Nicholls flew his first sortie, he flew every day and soon built up his experience. Two months later he was credited with damaging two MiGs on one sortie. He set one on fire before it disappeared into cloud and the other was seen damaged and with a lot of smoke as it made its escape across the Yalu River, an area Allied pilots were forbidden to fly over. On his 99th and penultimate operation, John Nicholls was a wingman to the Wing leader when they intercepted four MiGs just south of the Yalu. Nicholls chased one of the MiGs for some time and fired his cannons, scoring hits on the enemy fighter, which broke up and crashed. It was the first MiG to be shot down by an RAF pilot. On December 9th John Nicholls flew his last sortie in Korea and shortly afterwards was awarded a DFC to add to an American DFC and Air Medal. John Nicholls has flown every great fighter from the Spitfire to the Phantom, including the USAF century series. On his return to the RAF, Nicholls continued his career as a fighter pilot flying Meteors and Hunters before becoming a tactics instructor at the prestigious Day Fighter Leader's School. In 1959 he was attached to English Electric as RAF project test pilot on Lightnings. He commanded AFDS at RAF Binbrook where in 1963 Lightning vs Spitfire combat trials were flown and later, he commanded RAF Leuchars. He retired as Vice Chief of the Air Staff to become Director in charge, BAe Lightnings in Saudi Arabia. John Nicholls was appointed CBE (1967) and KCB (1978). Sadly, he died 17th May 2007, aged 80.
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Dennis Nichols
| Dennis Nichols |
Battle of Britian pilot also served in Italy with 241 squadron. Former chairman of the Spitfire Society. Dennis Nichols was born on the 16th of January 1924 and died on the 1st of June 2008, following a short illness.
Flight Lieutenant Darek Nowosielski
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| Flight Lieutenant Darek Nowosielski |
Darek fought with the Polish Army in 1940, and after te fall of Poland escaped to volunteer as a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force. In 1943 he joined 315 Polish Squadron flying Spitfire MkIXs and Mustangs. He flew first on convoy patrols on the Atlantic Approaches, then fighter patrols over France and Norway in 1944, and completed over 200 sorties. Dan Nowosielski passed away on 20th August 2008.
Wing Commander Peter Olver DFC
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| Wing Commander Peter Olver DFC |
Battle of Britain pilot, 611 and 603 squadrons. Wing Commander Peter Olver served with 603 Squadron on the 24th of October and on the following day his Spitfire was shot down but he baled out with only light injuries. When returning to duty he was transferred to 66 Squadron based at Biggin Hill and promoted to Flight Commander.
Wing Commander Geoffrey Page DSO OBE DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Wing Commander Geoffrey Page DSO OBE DFC
| Wing Commander Geoffrey Page DSO OBE DFC |
Geoffrey Page was born in Boxmoor on 16th May 1920. Geoffrey Page developed an early interest in aviation, which is not surprising as he had an uncle who flew during the Great War and another uncle was Sir Frederick Handley Page, the great aircraft manufacturer. Page went to Dean Close School in Cheltenham, Glouscestershire, and later went to the Imperial College to study engineering. It was at college he joined the University Air Squadron at Northolt. Two weeks after the outbreak of the Second World War, Geoffrey Page received his call-up papers and joined the RAF with the rank of Acting Pilot Officer and went to Cranwell for advanced training. In May 1940 after a short period of instructing, Page was posted to 66 Squadron, flying Supermarine Spitfires but was almost immediately re-assigned to 56 Squadron where he was to fly the Hawker Hurricane. Whilst as a pilot officer with 56 squadron he took part in the Battles of France and Britain, and had accounted for three kills by the time he was shot down on the 12th August 1940 during the Battle of Britain. Flying behind his commanding officer, who was attacking a large formation of Dornier Do17 bombers, his Hurricane was hit and caught fire. Burning high-octane fuel sprayed into the cockpit, covering Page, resulting in very bad burns to his face and hands. Page parachuted out and his Hurricane crashed into the sea. After being picked up from the sea he was taken to the burns unit at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, where he was treated by Sir Archibald MacIndoe, a pioneering plastic surgeon. He spent the next two years in hospital undergoing numerous plastic surgery operations. Both of his hands were burnt down to the bone, and his head had swollen to three times its normal size. Page had also received gunshot wounds to his legs. Page became a founding member of the Guinea Pig Club, where Sir Archibald MacIndoe was elected life time president and Geoffrey Page was its first chairman. In late 1942 he re-joined operations again as a Flight Lieutenant. He joined No.132 Squadron as a supernumerary Flight Lieutenant, before volunteering for service in North Africa, but returned to the UK as the desert heat caused problems on his skin grafts. In July 1943 he won his first DFC. Later in the year he joined 122 Squadron as a Flight Commander, before re-joining No.132 Squadron in January 1944 as Commanding Officer. On 29th April 1944 Page led his squadron to strafe Deelen airfield in Holland, and attacked a Bf110 night fighter that was landing. Despite the odds, the Bf110 shot down two Spitfires, before Page forced the aircraft down and destroyed it. The pilot of the Bf110 was the famous Major Hans-Joachim Jabs, who survived. Page was later promoted Wing Leader of 125 wing, and after another DFC he won the DSO at the end of 1944. Page had achieved his goal of 15 victories (10 solo, 5 shared, and 3 damaged). After the war on a tour of the United States met his wife to be, the daughter of a British Hollywood actor. He left the R.A.F. in 1948 joining Vickers Armstrong. In retirement, Page remained the driving force of the Guinea Pig Club, and also founded the Battle of Britain Trust. This raised more than one million pounds, with which the Battle of Britain memorial was erected overlooking the Straits of Dover. In 1995 he was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Sadly Alan Geoffrey Page DSO, OBE, DFC and Bar died 3rd August 2000.
Flight Lieutenant Colin Parkinson DFC
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| Flight Lieutenant Colin Parkinson DFC |
Australian Colin Parkinson joined the RAAF in 1940, arriving in England to join 19 Squadron flyin Spitfires. In March 1942 he shot down a Do217. In May he was posted to Malta, flying his Spitfire off HMS Eagle on 9th June, with 602 Squadron. After scoring several victories he flew to Gibraltar to lead in further Spitfires, taking off from HMS Furious to the island on 17th August. Commissioned, he now flew with 229 Squadron. On 9th October with Winco Donaldson and Screwball Beurling, he performed a low level beat up and acrobatics over the presentation of the George Cross to the people of Malta. He ended his tour of Malta in November 1942 with the DFC and 10.5 victories, plus probably 2 more. Colin Parkinson passed away aged 89 on 31st March 2006.
Flight Lieutenant Gwyn Parry DFC
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| Flight Lieutenant Gwyn Parry DFC |
Flight Lieutenant Gwyn Parry DFC was called up from Oxford University Air Squadron in August 1941 and was commissioned after completion of training in Canada in June 1942. After a navigation course at Squires Gate and PR, OTU he joined 140 Squadron based at Hartfordbridge and later Northolt. The operations he undertook on Spitfires were mostly at high level (up to 34,000 feet) over France and the Low Countries, but also some in Mosquitoes at 12,000 feet over French pre-invasion beaches.
Sqn Ldr Hugh Parry
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| Sqn Ldr Hugh Parry |
Hugh Parry joined the RAF from Northern Rhodesia in December 1939, and after training in England was posted in February 1941 to join 260 Squadron flying Hurricanes. In April he transferred to 266 Squadron flying first Spitfires and then Typhoons. In March 1943 he went to Malta with 601 Squadron on the USS Wasp, flying the Spitfire Vc, where he remained until July. After a spell as a test pilot, he returned to combat with 41 Squadron flying Spitfire MkXIIs. On 24th September 1943 he was shot down near Beauvais and managed to evade capture for the next five months until he was eventually captured by the Gestapo in Paris. After a month in prison he was sent to Stalag Luft III until the end of the war.
Flt. Lt. Michael Penny
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| Flt. Lt. Michael Penny |
His war service began in October 1940 at I.TW. Newquay. On completion of his training he was posted to No. 24 E. F.T.S. Luton. After 11 hours dual flying he first flew solo in a Miles Magister. After forty hours instruction he was posted to No. 9 S.F.T.S. Hullavington for advanced flying on Miles Masters and Hurricanes. On completing this course he was presented with his Wings, having now flown 62 hours. His next posting was to No. 60 O.T.U. at East Fortune where he converted to B & P Defiants. The Defiant was a very unpleasant aircraft to fly, very heavy and I did not like the idea of becoming a night fighter in this aircraft said Michael. He was then posted to No. 153 Squadron in Northern Ireland; after only a few days the Squadron was disbanded and he was given a chance to convert to Beaufighters or stay on 'singles'. Michael requested training for Spitfires but was informed that there were no vacancies at that moment in time. He then asked if he could fly Lysanders being used to tow drogues. His request was granted and he flew Lysanders until January 1943 when his posting came through to 58 O.T.U. Grangemouth. He completed 50 hours on Spitfires and was posted to 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron 124 Airfield, Lasham. Michael recalls, Although we were operational, we were now in 2 nd T. A. F. and most of our flying was done in cooperation with the Army and Tank Cor. This involved continual very low flying and demanded very strict air flying discipline - this held me in good stead as time went on. In May 1943 the Squadron moved to 121 Airfield Fairlop where he flew his first operation over occupied Europe on a fighter sweep over Rouen, followed by an escort op. with Ventura bombers to Zeebruger; this was his first experience of enemy antiaircraft fire. Various escort and fighter sweeps followed. There followed a series of moves to various airfields in Sussex and Kent. In early 1944 the Squadron, then stationed at Ford, had bombs fitted to our aircraft for dropping on V1 launch sites. We began our dive at about 10,000 feet and released our bomb at 5000 feet - a most unpleasant experience. This brought us into range from all kinds of anti-aircraft fire, but fortunately we suffered very few direct hits, Michael recalls. After completing over 120 operations Michael was posted tour expired by the Air Comm. and went on to become a Spitfire flying instructor. He was demobilised in November 1945.
Flight Lieutenant James Pickering AFC
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| Flight Lieutenant James Pickering AFC |
Jim Pickering joined the RAFVR in 1937, and was attached to 769 Sqn FAA, then 804 Sqn FAA. In June 1940 he returned to the RAF and flew Spitfires with 64 Sqn during the Battle of Britain. With 418 Flight Jim flew Hurricanes to Malta from HMS Argus on 2nd August 1940. This flight was to reinforce Maltas handful of outdated Gladiators and few surviving Hurricanes, and on 16th August was amalgamated to become 261 Squadron. With this unit Jim flew Hurricanes and at least five operations in the legendary Gladiators, which have been immortalised as Faith, Hope, and Charity. In April 1941 Jim was posted, first to Egypt, then 80 Squadron in October 1942, and 145 Squadron in December. He returned to the UK in 1943. Born in 1915 in Hinckley, Leicestershire, England, James Pickering studied the printing business in Europe during the 1930s. Convinced that Hitler represented a threat which could lead to war, Pickering joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1937. As a week-end flyer he earned his wings as a Sergeant Pilot in April of 1939. In September of that year Pickerings unit was mobilized. He was sent to an attachment of the Fleet Air Arm, where he flew Gladiators, Skuas, and Rocs, following his carrier training. In June of 1940 Pickering returned to the RAF flying Spitfires with No. 64 Squadron based in Kenley during the Battle of Britain. Pickering was selected along with eleven other carrier-qualified pilots to fly Hurricanes to Malta off the deck of the HMS Argus. On arrival in Malta these new Hurricanes and their pilots were integrated with the 3 flyable Gladiators and 3 Hurricanes already there to form No. 261 Squadron. This unit carried on the defense of Malta against Italian and German bombing missions which were launched regularly from Sicily, only sixty miles distant. Because of his earlier experience with the Gladiator, Pickering flew both Gladiators and Hurricanes at Malta for eight months. It is believed that Pickering is the last living RAF pilot to fly the Gladiator at Malta. Following his assignment in Malta, Pickering joined No. 1 Aircraft Delivery Unit which ferried aircraft from the West African Gold Coast and Port Sudan to various points throughout the war theater of operations. Pickering delivered a P-40 Warhawk to the Flying Tigers which involved one of the first flights over the hump. In October of 1942 Pickering returned to operational flying with No. 80 Squadron (Hurricanes) at EI Alamein, and later with No. 145 Squadron (Spitfires). Having completed three separate operational tours, Pickering returned to England when victory was achieved in North Africa. In England, Pickering was assigned as a test pilot with No. 3501 Servicing Unit. He tested modifications to the Spitfire, and also test flew a number of P-51 Mustangs. Later he was transferred to No. 151 Repair Unit as its Chief Test Pilot. This was the largest unit of this kind in the RAF. Because of these experiences, Pickering is unusual in having flown eighty different types of aircraft during the War. Awarded the Air Force Cross, Pickering was released from the RAF at Wars end. He returned to his family-owned printing business, and spent his working career with the company, from which he retired in 1965. He also served as an outside Director of the largest Building Society in Britain. Pickering joined the Volunteer Reserve once again following the War, and continued to fly with the RAF until reaching the mandatory age limit of sixty. Pickering has had a private pilots license since 1938. He has flown thousands of hours and he is an expert on geological and archaeological research from the air. A Fellow of both the Geological Society and the Society of Antiquaries, Jim Pickering epitomizes the English character of determination and persistence which was so vastly underestimated by Hitler during WW 11.
Colonel Steve Pisanos
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| Colonel Steve Pisanos |
Born in Athens, Greece, Spiro Nicolas Steve Pisanos came to America on a tramp steamer. Arriving in New York in 1938 speaking no English, he worked in a bakery and hotels to earn money for flying lessons. Prior to Americas entry into World War II, he joined the Royal Air Force, was trained in California and England and eventually assigned to the 71st Eagle Squadron, comprised of American volunteers. Transferred to the USAAF 4th Fighter Group in September, 1942, he was commissioned a Lieutenant and became an American citizen, the first ever to become such outside the continental U.S. He became an Ace on January 1, 1944. On March 5, 1944, his P-51 crash-landed south of Le Havre, France while returning from an escort mission. He evaded the Germans for 6 months and worked with the French underground and the OSS on sabotaging missions. Following the war he served as a test pilot and in assignments with NATO and the USAF in Europe, followed by a tour in Vietnam and retirement as a Colonel in 1973.
Squadron Leader Mahinder Pujji DFC
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| Squadron Leader Mahinder Pujji DFC |
In 1940 Mahinder, a qualified pilot flying for Shell in India, volunteered to join the RAF and was commissioned as Pilot Officer. Arriving in England, he was posted to 43 Squadron, and then 258 Squadron at Kenley, flying both Hurricanes and Spitfires. Later posted to the Western Desert, then to India, and finally to Burma, where he completed two tours against the Japanese. Sadly, Mahinder Pujji passed away on 22nd September 2010.
Jeffrey Quill, OBE, AFC, FRAeS
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| Jeffrey Quill, OBE, AFC, FRAeS |
Jeffrey Quill was born at Littlehampton in Sussex in 1913, the youngest of five children. He was educated at Lancing College, overlooking Shoreham aerodrome (then a small grass field with old hangars and a wooden hut for the flying club). The frequent sight of aircraft at close quarters increased Quill’s already burning interest in aviation, and after leaving Lancing in 1931 he was accepted into the Royal Air Force at the age of 18, as an acting Pilot Officer. He learned to fly on Avro Tutor biplanes, and went solo after only 5 hours 20 minutes – well below the usual 9 hours. In September 1932 he joined No.17 (Fighter) Squadron at Upavon, where he flew Bristol Bulldogs. He was then posted to Duxford, to the RAF Meteorological Flight, where they flew open-cockpit Siskins to heights of up to 25,000 feet to collect weather data. In November 1934 Quill became Flight Commander, and set out with his team to achieve 100 per cent regularity in the scheduled climbs (twice every day, except Sundays, at 0700 and 1300 hrs) without missing a single flight, even in “unflyable” weather. For this outstanding achievement he was awarded the Air Force Cross. In January 1936 Jeffrey Quill became assistant to Mutt Summers, the chief test pilot at Vickers (Aviation) Ltd., and his initial task was the testing of the Wellesley bomber. On 26 March 1936 Quill made his first flight in the prototype Spitfire K5054. Much work was needed on the Spitfire before it was eventually cleared for squadron service in July 1938. Jeffrey Quill spent the entire war in charge of development and production flying, but insisted on having first-hand combat experience, and in August 1940 he was assigned to 65 (Spitfire) Squadron at RAF Hornchurch. During that month he shot down a Me109, and shared in a Heinkel He111 before being recalled to Supermarine to test the Spitfire Mk III. The Seafire, the naval version of the Spitfire used by the Fleet Air Arm, was suffering enormous losses in deck landing accidents. During 1944 Quill spent five months with the Royal Navy, and made more than 75 deck landings. By the end of the war, he had personally test-flown all 50-odd variants of Spitfire and Seafire. His personal favourite was the Spitfire Mk VIII. Jeffrey Quill continued as chief test pilot after the war, when Vickers – ever on the cutting edge of development – produced Britain’s third jet aircraft, the Attacker. On 27 July 1946 Quill made the first flight from Boscombe Down, and continued to undertake the testing, until one day the following June he passed out at about 40,000 feet. Fortunately he recovered at about 10,000 ft, in time to land safely. Quill had been flying continuously for 16 years, often at high altitude and without oxygen. He had logged over 5000 hours and flown more than 95 aircraft types. Jeffrey Quill died at Andreas, Isle of Man, on 20 February 1996.
F/Lt Ray Raby
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| F/Lt Ray Raby |
F/Lt Ray Raby jojned the RAFVR in 1940. His flying training began in the USA, where he was retained as an instructor with both USAF and RAF wings. He qualified on his return for an Air Navigators Certificate. He was posted to 519 Squadron, Wick, on Spitfires prior to joining 542 Squadron, Benson PRU with Jerry Fray as Flight Commander. In 1943, he was posted to Benson and survived 58 operational sorties until he was demobbed in 1946. In 1947 he joined 605 (County of Warwick) Wsquadron, Raux AF, Honiley on Vampire and Meteor jet aircraft as flight commander until disbandment in 1957. His total hours flown are 3265.
Flight Lieutenant Jack Rae DFC*
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| Flight Lieutenant Jack Rae DFC* |
New Zealander Jack Rae joined the RNZAF in September 1940, was posted to England and joined 485 Squadron RNZAF. He claimed 2 victories before being posted to 603 Squadron. With this unit he flew his Spitfire off USS Wasp to Malta, on 20th April 1942. After being shot down over the island, he was posted to 249 Squadron. During the following two weeks he saw much action, claiming 4 and one shared by the end of July. Posted back to the UK, he returned to combat flying in May 1943, rejoining 485 Squadron. He rapidly scored further victories, but on 22nd August just after downing an Fw190, his engine failed forcing him to land in France where he was taken POW. His final tally stood at 12 victories and 8 probables. He died on 19th December 2007.
Squadron Leader Arthur Roscoe DFC
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| Squadron Leader Arthur Roscoe DFC |
American Art Roscoe joined the RAF in February 1941, through the Clayton Knight Committee that was recruiting American civilian pilots for the RAF. Arriving in England he joined 71 Eagle Squadron, where he made his first claims. In June 1942 he volunteered for service on Malta and flew off the carrier HMS Furious on 11th August to join 229 Squadron. During his final combat on 12th October he was shot down, wounded and evacuated from the island in a Liberator, which in turn crashed on landing in Gibraltar. On recovery, he was posted to join 165 Squadron, then 242 Squadron, and in May 1944 was given command of 232 Squadron. He had destroyed 4 enemy aircraft and probably 3 more.
Wing Commander Jack Rose CMG MBE DFC
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| Wing Commander Jack Rose CMG MBE DFC |
Jack Rose was born on January 18 1917 at Blackheath, London, and was educated at Shooters Hill School before studying Science at University College London where he represented the university at rugby. He joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in October 1938, completing his training as a fighter pilot just before the outbreak of war. With the British Expeditionary force under constant air attack, fighter reinforcements were requested and Jack Rose flew one of the Hurricanes sent to Merville to reinforce No.3 Squadron. He was in action immediately and on the 15th he shared in the destruction of a Messerschmitt Bf109 as the air battle reached its climax. For the next few days the Hurricane squadrons operated at maximum intensity. During the afternoon of the 18th Rose intercepted a lone Messerschmitt Bf110 fighter over Douai and shot it down. A few hours earlier, his elder brother Tommy, of No 56 Squadron, had been shot down and killed in his Hurricane. The following day Rose attacked a Heinkel 111 and closed to within a few yards to shoot the bombers port engine. Oil from the engine covered the windscreen of his Hurricane so he climbed away, slowed the aircraft down to almost stalling speed, loosened his harness, stood on his seat and leant out of the cockpit in an attempt to clean the windscreen. As he did, tracer from an enemy fighter hit his aircraft. Seeing Rose standing in the cockpit, the German pilot claimed he had shot down the Hurricane, but Rose managed to break away. His aircraft was badly damaged but he managed a forced landing at a forward airfield where the aircraft was destroyed. Orders were given to evacuate the Hurricanes on the 20th. Without an aircraft, Rose joined others on a French transport and was flown to England. In the 10 days of the air war, No 3 Squadron lost seven pilots killed with another taken prisoner. A further nine Hurricanes were lost. He formed the new 184 Squadron in 1942, initially on Hurricanes, later Spitfires. In late 1943 the squadron converted to rocket firing Typhoons, and were heavily involved in the build up to D-Day, moving to France in late 1944. He later transferred to the Far East, finishing the war with 3 victories. Leading the rocket-firing Hawker Typhoons of 184 Squadron, Jack Rose swept down on German armour concentrations south of Caen on D-Day, the first of many such sorties over Normandy Constantly on call during the battle, the squadrons targets ranged from enemy armour and convoys, to gun and mortar positions, bridges and railway targets. From June 14, they operated from Advanced Landing Grounds in France, with the enemy close enough to fire at them on landing and take-off. Rose joined his first squadron, No 32, at Biggin Hill flying Hurricanes. In the Battle for France he scored three victories before returning to England to take part in the Battle of Britain. In 1942 he formed 184 Squadron from scratch, leading it until October 1944. He later flew Hurricanes again in the Far East. He left the RAF in October 1945. Sadly, Jack Rose died on 10th October 2009.
Squadron Leader Stuart Nigel Rose
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| Squadron Leader Stuart Nigel Rose |
Originally from Elswick in the north east of England, Rose moved south to join the RAFVR in March 1939, called up at the outbreak of war he was commissioned in June 1940 joining No.602 Sqn in June 1940 flying Spitfires and serving with the unit throughout the Battle of Britain, claiming three victories. Squadron Leader Nigel Rose was then posted to 54 Sqn at Hornchurch in September 1941 before becoming an instructor in 1942, and also serving in the Middle East. Afterwards he moved to No.54 Sqn before taking on positions in training units.
Lieutenant Colonel Don Ross
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| Lieutenant Colonel Don Ross |
Don Ross flew Spitfire Vbs with the second American Eagle Squadron, 121 Squadron. By the time the squadron transferred to the 357th Fighter Group in September 1942 he had already completed 72 combat sorties. Shot down in February 1944 he became a POW until May 1945. He flew combat in Korea, and then F-4 Phantoms in Vietnam.
Squadron Leader T.N. Rosser OBE DFC
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| Squadron Leader T.N. Rosser OBE DFC |
Squadron Leader T.N. Rosser OBE DFC volunteered for pilot training early in 1940. After training in England he was commissioned and flew with Spitfire and Hurricane squadrons in England and Bengal from August 1941 until December 1942, when he joined No 3 PRU (later redesignated 681 Squadron) in Calcutta for photographic reconnaissance operations in Japanes-occupied Burma, Thailand, and the Andaman Islands. (At that time the squadron was equipped with converted Hurricanes and North American B52s, and three PR Spitfires, the only Spitfires of any kind in India. A year or so later it had a full complement of Spitfire Mk XIs and 684 Squadron, equipped with Mosquitoes, had been formed). After his operational tour ended in July 1944, he commanded the PR training Flight in 74 OTU in Palestine until VE Day when the OTU was disbanded. He later formed and led a temporary squadron of Spitfire fighter/bombers based in Egypt for internal security duties in the Middle East. He was demobilised in late 1946 after administrative appointments in Air HQ Egypt, and at Cranwell.
Pilot Officer Stefan Ryll
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| Pilot Officer Stefan Ryll |
Stefan Ryll went into operations with 306 Squadron flying both Hurricanes and Spitfires, and took part in the last raid of the war flying a P-51 Mustang on escort for the bombers flying to Berchtesgaden.
Warrant Officer Norman Samuels
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| Warrant Officer Norman Samuels |
Initially flying Typhoons with 193 Sqn, Norman then transferred to 610 Sqn flying Spitfires on fighter sweeps over France, heavy-bomber missions, and operations against VIs. Returning to ground attack Typhoons over Europe with 193 Sqn, he was shot down in March 1945 and taken prisoner of war.
Flight Lieutenant Allan Scott DFM
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| Flight Lieutenant Allan Scott DFM |
Allan Scott joined the RAF in March 1941, joining 124 Squadron in October, where he made his first claims. Ordered to Malta, he flew his Spitfire off HMS Eagle to the island on 21st July. Initially posted to 603 Squadron, he went to 1435 Squadron, seeing much action - including a victory during Operation Pedestal on 13th August. He remained with this unit until December 1942. Whilst on Malta he was credited with at least 5 destroyed and a further 2 probables, and received the DFM. Returnong to the UK he was commissioned in January 1943. In September he was posted to join 122 Squadron. His final tally was 6 victories.
Group Captain Dave Seward AFC
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| Group Captain Dave Seward AFC |
Dave Seward flew RAF Meteors, Canberras and Javelins and USAF F-86, F-102 and F-106 fighters. In 1961, as C.O. of No.56 Sqn he led the 'Firebirds' Lightning aerobatic team and later Commanded the Lightning OCU and Battle of Britain Flight, flying the Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire.
Flight Lieutenant Johnny Sharpe
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| Flight Lieutenant Johnny Sharpe |
Qualified as a pilot in 1944 and was posted to Italy flying Spitfires and Mustangs for 249 and 213 Squadrons, flying across the Adriatic and taking part in combat over the Balkans. He was nicknamed 8 o'clock because he was never on time for briefings!
Group Captain Desmond Sheen DFC*
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| Group Captain Desmond Sheen DFC* |
A Great Australian Spitfire pilot throughout the Battle of Britain. Scoring his first victories in 1939. He was shot down twice and once wounded. He commanded 72 squadron and by 1945 commanded HQ 148 Airfield. He died in 2001.
Flight Lieutenant George Sheppard
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| Flight Lieutenant George Sheppard |
Volunteering initially in October 1940 and called up in January 1941, George Sheppard learnt to fly in America and graduated and was commissioned in April 1942. He stayed on as an instructor in America returning to England in March 1943. He joined 198 Typhoon Squadron and after the invasion moved to Normandy in July 1944. He stayed with the squadron all the way through to Germany, becoming a flight commander in February 1945. He flew a total of 84 operational sorties. He felw Meteors with 74 Squadron and Spitfires with 263 Squadron in Italy before demob in May 1946. -- At the time of the Falaise battle we were operating from B7 Martragny and checking my log book I flew 16 ops during this time. The targets in and around Falaise were troop concentrations, tanks, trucks, armoured vehicles and gun positions. A flight which I was in, claimed many tanks, trucks etc, these being the ones that could be identified. One did not hang around after firing rockets and cannons to check results of attacks as the flak was intensive. In our flight we lost 2 pilots killed, 2 baled out but returned to base. Many planes were damaged by flak. I was hit and lost my brakes. Crash landed back at B7. I was also hit by 88mm flak on July 31st and forced landed over our lines at Cuverville, near Caen. After the battle a few of us went down to the Falaise area in our Commer 15 cwt truck. The destruction was incredible, burnt out vehicles, tanks, dead animals in the fields and dead Germans on the roadside. The smell was overwhelming. I thought at the time what it must have been like on the ground being under constant attack from the air. It was the first time I had seen on the ground the destruction caused by rockets, bombs and 20mm cannon fire.
Wing Commander Wilfred M Sizer DFC*
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| Wing Commander Wilfred M Sizer DFC* |
Born on 23rd February 1920, at the outbreak of war Bill Sizer was flying Hurricanes with 213 Squadron, after flying Guantlets with No.17 Squadron. The squadron flew to France in May 1940, where he scored his first victories, before being attacked by five Me109s and shot down. Rejoining his squadron soon after, he took part in the air battles over Dunkirk before again being shot down and escaping back to England. He flew throughout the Battle of Britain. Based at Exeter, on the 11th of August, he shot down a Ju88, and the next day he shot down a fighter escorting a large formation of bombers. As the attacks intensified, the pilots of 213 Sqn fle wup to four patrols a day. On the 15th of August he shot down two Ju87 Stukas. He also shared in the destruction of a Ju88 in October 1940, bringing it down over Beachy Head. He was awarded the DFC for scoring 7 and 5 shared victories. In April 1941 he was posted to join 1 Squadron, and then 91 Squadron. In April 1942 he joined 152 Squadron flying Spitfires, with whom he went to North Africa. In January 1943 he was given command of 93 Squadron and took part in the Sicily landings. While leading 93 Squadron he shot down two Italian fighters and damaged several others. He was awarded a Bar to the DFC. He finished the war with 7 and 5 shared victories. He died 22nd December 2006.
First Lieutenant Bill Slade
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| First Lieutenant Bill Slade |
Arriving in England in July 1941, Bill quickly completed his RAF training and joined his fellow compatriots at 133 Eagle Squadron, formed a few months earlier. Flying Spitfires he took part in the air operations attacking the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau during the Channel Dash. Transferring to the 336th Fighter Squadron, USAAF, he completed a total of over 80 combat sorties during the war.
Flight Lieutenant Sir Alan Smith DFC
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| Flight Lieutenant Sir Alan Smith DFC |
An RAFVR pilot Alan Smith completed his conversion to Spitfires and was posted to 610 Squadron in October 1940. and then to 616 Squadron in December 1940, Alan Smith often flew as wingman to Douglas Bader and would have been flying in that position on the fateful August 9th had he not been suffering from a head cold and instead set off for London to buy a uniform to match his newly granted commission. Johnnie Johnson described him as the perfect No 2. He usually flew in the same section with Bader, Cocky Dundas and Johnson. Alan Smith was impressed not only by Baders ability to inspire his pilots, but also his willingness to protect them. He remembers the RAF police pouncing on the squadron to see if anyone was using aviation fuel in their cars and how Bader sent them packing in no uncertain terms! In November 1941 Alan Smith was posted to a training role but returned to operations in November 1942 in North Africa. After completing this tour he returned to instructing latterly in the USA. By the end of the war Smith had been awarded the DFC and Bar and had recorded five confirmed victories. After the war he had a very successful career in the textile industry.
Group Captain W G G Duncan-Smith DSO, DFC, AE
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| Group Captain W G G Duncan-Smith DSO, DFC, AE |
Spent WWII flying Spitfires in the Battle of Britian and over Europe accounting for 19 enemy aircraft destroyed, 7 probables and 15 damaged. Duncan-Smith was born in Madras, India, on 28th May 1914, the son of an officer in the Indian civil service. He was educated in Scotland, where he joined his schools OTC. Returning to India in 1933, he became a coffee and tea planter, but in 1936 returned to the UK to join the RAF.
Wartime service - Serving at 7 OTU at the outbreak of war, he was posted to No.611 Squadron RAF later that year. He was awarded a DFC in June 1941, and went to 603 Squadron in August 1941 as a Flight Commander. Taken ill late in the year, he spent some time in hospital, before joining 64 Squadron in March 1942. In August he became Wing Commander- Flying at RAF North Weald after a rest from operations. He was then sent to the Mediterranean as Wing leader, 244 Wing. In September 1943 after engine failure he bailed out into the sea, being rescued after 5 hours adrift. As a Group Captain, he then took charge of 324 Wing , finally leaving in March 1945. Duncan Smith or Smithy was credited with 17 confirmed kills, two shared kills, six probables, two shared probables and eight damaged in aerial combat. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Bar and the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Bars in recognition of his bravery. He also was a notable recipient of the 5 Years Safe Driving Award. He was the author of Spitfire into Battle, published in 1981, a highly entertaining account of aerial combat in the Spitfire aircraft. Group Captain Duncan Smith flew and fought in front-line operations continuously from the Battle of Britain through the struggle for Malta, the invasion of Italy and the liberation of France.
Wing Commander Roderick Smith DFC*
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| Wing Commander Roderick Smith DFC* |
Flight Commander 412 Sqn RCAF, Flight Commander 126 Sqn RAF, Squadron Commander 401 Sqn RCAF. One of Canada's most skillful Spitfire pilots, his victory total included a shared victory over an Me262 jet fighter.Born in 1922, he joined the RCAF and was sent to Scotland for training on the Spitfire Mk.I. He was posted to Malta with No.126 Sqn, where his older brother was already serving. His brother was killed in action during theit time in Malta, and Roderick himself was forced to bail out of his burning aircraft. On D-Day, he flew over the Normandy beaches as Flight Commander of No.412 Sqn RCAF. He returned to Canada in December 1944 and retired the next year. Sadly, Roderick Smith died on 16th April 2002.
Flight Lieutenant John Squier
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| Flight Lieutenant John Squier |
John Squier was called up from the RAFVR at the outbreak of war, joining 64 Squadron at Kenley in June 1940 flying Spitfires. In August he crash landed following an attack by Hannes Trautloft of III/JG51, suffering severe injuries. Rejoining 64 Squadron in November, he was posted to 72 Squadron, then 603 Squadron, and finally 141 Squadron. He was commissioned in 1942. After the war he became a test pilot and was the first pilot to eject at supersonic speed. He died 30th January 2006.
Wing Commander Bob Stanford Tuck DSO DFC**
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| Wing Commander Bob Stanford Tuck DSO DFC** |
Bob Stanford Tuck was a flamboyant fighter pilot, his dashing good looks, courage, and success in the air coming to epitomise the young flyers who fought and won the Battle of Britain. To the British public he was a hero in the mould of the knights of old, and today his name is legend. In the early stages of the Battle of Britain Bob fought with 92 Squadron flying Spitfires, quickly becoming one of the leading aces. Promoted to command 257 Squadron, now flying Hurricanes, Bobs dashing style of leadership inspired his pilots to great success. He went on to command the Duxford and Biggin Hill Wings, taking his personal score to 29 air victories before being shot down by ground fire over Northern France in 1942. He died on 5th May 1987.
Squadron Leader Basil Stapleton DFC
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| Squadron Leader Basil Stapleton DFC |
Born in South Africa, Basil Stapleton joined the RAF in Jan 1939, being posted to 603 Sqn flying Spitfires. He first saw action off Scotland, sharing in the destruction of two bombers, before the Squadron was posted south to Hornchurch during the height of the Battle of Britain. By Nov 1940 his tally had risen to 6 and 2 shared victories and 8 probables. In March 1942 he was posted to 257 Sqn as flight commander. In August 1944 he commanded 247 Sqn flying Typhoons, taking part in the Arnhem operations. In December 1944, whilst attacking a train, debris hit his aircraft forcing him to land behind enemy lines where he was taken prisoner of war. Stapme Stapleton had scored 6 victories, plus 2 shared, 5 probable and 2 damaged. Sadly, we have learned that Basil Stapleton passed away on 13th April 2010.
Wing Commander Harbourne Stephen CBE, DSO, DFC
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| Wing Commander Harbourne Stephen CBE, DSO, DFC |
Flying Spitfires with 605 squadron he took part in the air battles over France and Dunkirk and throughout the thick of the Battle of Britain. He was one of the top scoring R.A.F. pilots at the end of 1940 with 22 and a half air victories. In 1942 he was posted to the far east where he took command of 166 wing, remaining in fighters until the end of the war. After the war he had a successful career in newspapers where he became managing Director of the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph. He died on 20th August 2001.
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Len Stillwell
| Len Stillwell |
Len Stillwell trained in Southern Rhodesia and was posted to Italy with 92 Squadron flying Hurricanes. Later Len Stillwell went onto fly Mk.V , MK VIII and IX Spitfires with 92 squadron providing close ground support. He was wounded when enemy fire hit his aircraft injuring both his legs, but soon he rejoined the squadron. It was sad news to hear of his passing on the 6th December 2008.
Wing Commander George W Swanwick
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| Wing Commander George W Swanwick |
George Swanwick was born on 10th November 1915 and was an air-gunner on Wallaces and Hinds with 504 squadron at RAF Hucknall during the 1930s. In May 1936, 504 became part of the Auxiliary Air Force, and in October 1938 converted to a fighter unit, equipped with Gauntlets. In 1938 George re-trained as a pilot, and was promoted to Sergeant Pilot in August 1939. In May 1940 George Swanwick joined 7 BGS, and on 7th September was posted to 54 Squadron at Catterick flying Spitfires. He then went to 41 Squadron at Hornchurch. Commissioned in late 1941, he was posted to 222 Squadron at North Weald in April 1942 as a Flight Commander. In July George Swanwick joined 603 Squadron in Malta and in September 1942, George was posted to 7 OTU at Port Sudan as Flight Commander. In July 1943, he joined 81 Squadron in Malta as a supernumerary. George was invalided back to the UK and following his discharge from hospital in 1944, George held various staff appointments until the end of the war. George Swanwick was granted a Permament Commission in 1949 and retired on 30th April 1970, as a Wing Commander. Sadly, George Swanwick passed away on 4th January 2011.
Flying Officer Kurt Taussig
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| Flying Officer Kurt Taussig |
Czech Kurt was sent, age 15, by his parents on the Kindertrnsport to England from Czechoslovakia in June 1939 to escape the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Determined to fight the Germans he joined the RAF at eighteen in late 1942, and after training was posted to the Middle East to join 225 Squadron flying Spitfires on photo-reconnaissance duties in Tunisia, the Sicily landings, and in Italy.
Flt/Lt Jimmy Taylor
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| Flt/Lt Jimmy Taylor |
Flt/Lt Jimmy Taylor joined the RAF in 1941, received his pilot training in the USA under the Arnold Scheme and instructed American cadets on the Vultee BT-13a from 1942 to 43. He took the PRU OTU course at Dyce and joined 16 Squadron, part of 34 PR Wing in 2nd Tactical Air Force, at Northolt in August 1944, flying blue Spitfire XIs and pink Spitfire IXs. He moved with the Squadron to A12 airstrip in Normandy, then to the airfield at Amiens - Glisy and at the end of September, to Melsbroek airfield outside Brussels. On 19th November, he suffered engine failure over Germany , baled out and landed in a field in Holland. after evading capture for five days he reached the Rhine, but was spotted by an alert German officer and spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft I on the Baltic. He returned to instructing, on Harvards, until he was demobilized in 1946. Thereafter, he followed a career in education. In 1989, he took up gliding and found it more challenging than flying with an engine. In 1990, he learned from a Dutch archivist that four Dutchmen had been executed as a result of his landing in their village. This was a great shock and he returns each year to lay a wreath on their memorial.
Squadron Leader Laurence Thorogood DFC AE
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| Squadron Leader Laurence Thorogood DFC AE |
Joining 87 Squadron on June 14th 1940, Laurence Thorogood was thrown straight into the Battle of Britain, destroying a Ju88 on 25th August. Commissioned in 1941 he then was posted to India and remained in the Far East until the end of the war. He served with No 9 Sqn Indian Air Force (Hurricane IIc) and 67 Sqn RAF (Spitfire VIII) in the campaign down the Arakan Coast. Staying in the RAF after the war, he served in Singapore and Sumatra with 155 Sqn before converting to Vampires on 130 Sqn, after two years instructing on Oxfords at Middle Wallop, we was Adjutant with 615 Sqn, Biggin Hill before moving to Germany in 1951 to fly Vampires with 118 and 94 Sqns. He served on the Thor missile system before finishing his career as a civilian in Whitehall. Sadly Laurence Thorogood passed away in December 2005. We would like to thank Dr John Thorogood for supplying the photo of his father.
Col Reade F Tilley USAF
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| Col Reade F Tilley USAF |
A native of Clearwater, Florida, Reade Tilley grew up with a love for competition in the fast lane. This made Reade natural for driving race cars and the military equivalent; fighter pilot. After attending the St. Petersburg College in Florida and the University of Texas at Austin, Reade was faced with the difficult choice of deciding whether to continue to pursue his race car driving career or become a fighter pilot. With war raging in Europe, Reade opted for the latter, and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940. In 1941 he was assigned to No. 121 Eagle Squadron of the RAF. This was one of the three American-manned squadrons in the RAF. Reading of the horrific air attacks being endured by the people of the besieged Island of Malta, Reade volunteered for a daring mission to launch landbased Spitfires from the USS Wasp to relieve the forces on the island. On the morning of April 20, 1942 forty-seven Spits, including one flown by Tilley, were launched from the Wasp. The arrival of these fighters was very important in saving the strategic island from annihilation by the Nazis. Arriving safely in Malta, Tilley would soon fly in combat, and on his second mission he would down a Bf-109. The Luftwaffe launched an all-out effort to destroy the recently arrived Spitfires, and within a matter of days all of the newly arrived aircraft were either destroyed or damaged. In June Tilley returned to Gibraltar and led another flight of Spitfires to Malta, this time from the deck of the HMS Eagle. During his combat tours at Malta, Tilley attained a total of seven confirmed aerial victories, two probables, and five damaged. He was one of the first two American pilots to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during the defense of Malta. The citation reads in part: ... on three occasions by making feint attacks after having expended his ammunition he successfully drove off enemy fighters attempting to machine gun our aircraft as they landed ... Reade was promoted to Flying Officer in August of 1942, and in October he transferred to the USAAC with the rank of Captain. In early 1944 he was promoted to the rank of Major. Tilley remained with the USAF following the War and served initially with the USAFE, the Air Forces in Europe, where he was involved with the Berlin Air Lift. Later Tilley would serve with the Strategic Air Command. Promoted to Colonel in 1955, he served as the Director of Public Information for General Curtis LeMay. During this period Tilley was able to hone his race car driving skills as a member of the SAC Racing Team. Driving an Allard, Tilley competed against some of the top professional drivers of the era in a series of road race competitions at Air Force bases throughout the country. Reade also served as Director of Information for Pacific Air Forces during the Vietnam War. After retiring from the Air Force, he became a consultant. Reade Tilley passed away in 2001.
Flight Lieutenant Noel C Todd
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| Flight Lieutenant Noel C Todd |
Joined the RAAF in November 1940. Noel trained in Australia and gained his wings in Canada. Commissioned as Pilot Officer, he sailed to the UK in 1941 and attended a Spitfire OTU then posted to 501 Sqn equipped with Spitfire Vs. Noel was seconded to Australia and joined 75 Sqn in June 1942. Flying Kittyhawks he took part in the Battle of Milne Bay during August / September 1942. After returning to Australia to rest and re-equip, Todd returned to Milne Bay with the squadronin February 1943. In April, Flg Off Todd flew A29-133 during a patrol from Milne Bay and on 14th April claimed a Zero destroyed during 75 Sqns last major air to air battle of the war when one hundred Japanese planes attacked Milne Bay. He remained with the squadron for much of 1943 and was then posted as a Test Pilot to the Aircraft Performance Unit at Laverton. Noel Todd ended his service career testing aircraft at 2 OTU.
Wing Commander George Grumpy Unwin, DSO, DFM*
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| Wing Commander George Grumpy Unwin, DSO, DFM* |
George Unwin joined the RAF in 1929, and in 1936 was posted to Duxford with 19 Squadron as a Sergeant Pilot. He was one of the first pilots in the RAF to fly the Spitfire. With the outbreak of war 19 Squadron moved to Hornchurch and George, now one of the Squadrons most experienced pilots, took part in the great air battles over France and Dunkirk, scoring 3 and a half victories. He flew with 19 Squadron continuously during the whole of the Battle of Britain. He was commissioned in 1941. After a period instructing, he resumed operations, flying Mosquitoes with 16 Squadron. George finished the war with 13 victories, 2 shared, 2 unconfirmed, and 2 probables. He died 28th June 2006.
Wing Commander Tim Vigors DFC
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| Wing Commander Tim Vigors DFC |
Born 22nd March 1921. He joined No. 222 Sqn in February 1940 flying Spitfires. By the end of September 1940, he had downed 6 enemy aircraft with a further 6 probables, while being forced to crash land his Spitfire on two occasions. He claimed a further two Me109s in October. He was posted to Singapore, joining No.243 Sqn and then 453 Sqn RAAF, the Fleet Defence Squadron for Force Z when the Royal Navy lost the battleships Repulse and Prince of Wales to Japanese aircraft. Moving the squadron to Malaya, he was forced to bale out of his Buffalo after a skirmish with a large number of Japanese aircraft, being evacuated to India, retirning from the RAF after the war. He died 14th November 2003.
Squadron Leader Michael Terry Wainwright
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| Squadron Leader Michael Terry Wainwright |
Squadron Leader Michael Terry Wainwright joined 64 Squadron RAF flying Spitfires and in May 1940 during the Battle of Birtain destroyed an Me109. On the 25th of July his section destroyed a Messershmitt Bf109 fighter encountered off the south coast. He went on to become a flight instructor at the Central Flying School at RAF Upavon, Wiltshire, and later flew Douglas Dakotas. Sqd Ldr Michael Terry Wainwright retired form the Royal Air Force in March 1958, but continued his flying as an instructor and also as a Civil Airline Pilot in the UK as well as the Middle East. Michael still flew until August 1st 1990 and logged a total of 14,100 hours.
Group Captain Brian Black Jack Walker
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| Group Captain Brian Black Jack Walker |
Brian Walker joined the RAAF in 1935. The outbreak of World War Two found him with 25 Squadron RAAF flying Wirraways. After a period of instructing he went to 12 Squadron before joining 30 Squadron RAAF as Command Officer. This was the first RAAF Beaufighter Squadron. He then went north to New Guinea where his exploits on Beaufighters are legendary. In 1944 he was seconded to de Havilland as test pilot on Mosquitoes. At the end of the year, until the conclusion of the war, he commanded No. 1 Fighter Wing in Darwin flying Spitfires and Mustangs. Brian Walker passed away on 21st April 1997, aged 84.
Flight Lieutenant William Walker
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| Flight Lieutenant William Walker |
Born on August 24 1913, William Walker joined the Royal Air Force Voluntary reserve on September 2 1938 at Kidlington, Oxford as an Airman u/t Pilot. William Walker joined the RAF on September 1st 1939 and posted to 1 ITW, Cambridge on November 15. He went to 2 FTS, Brize Norton on February 17 1940 and after training was posted directly to 616 Squadron on June 18th, flying Spitfires. In combat off Dover on August 26, Walker was shot down in Spitfire MK II, R 6701 and baled out, wounded in the foot. He landed in the sea and was rescued by a small fishing boat . He was taken to Ramsgate Hospital suffering from hypothermia, he was then transferred to the RAF Hospital at Halton, where they operated to remove the bullet from his ankle. On May 2nd 1941 he rejoined. Walker returned to hospital at Halton on September 23 1941 and after convalescence at Torquay, he rejoined 1 ADF on November 17. He was posted to 116 Squadron on July 8 1942, on anti-aircraft co-operation duties. He remained with the squadron until July 6 1944. He then went to the Sector Gunnery Flight at Gatwick until October 4, when he rejoined 1 ADF. He served with the unit at various locations until released from the RAF at Uxbridge on September 1 1945, as a Flight Lieutenant.
Warrant Officer Peter Wall
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| Warrant Officer Peter Wall |
Joined the RAF at the Air Crew Reception Centre at Lords Cricket Ground, London in 1941 and after Initial Training Wing at Clare College, Cambridge, found himself en route to the USA to take part in the Arnold Scherne, being trained to be a pilot by the South East Army Air Corps in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. After 200 hours of training Peter graduated at a ceremony where he was given the silver wings normally awarded to the American cadets - the RAF wings came later out of a cardboard box! On return to the UK and after six weeks at the Advanced Flying Unit at Bodney, Norfolk, he was posted to the target towing at 61 OTU, Rednal and West Felton, flying Westland Lysanders and Miles Martinets, towing drogues for the Spitfire pilots to shoot at. After six months he joined a Spitfire course and after completion Peter was sent to Hawkinge, Kent to join No 41 Sqdn who were flying a new Spitfire, the Mark 12 with the Griffon engine developing nearly 2000 horsepower. The task there was to protect the bombers returning from raids in Northern France. From there the Sqdn was sent to Beachy Head to deal with the hit and run raiders attacking Eastbourne and other South Coast towns. Up until then it had been forbidden to take the aircraft over to the continent but the policy changed and the Sqdn joined up with 91 Sqdn to form a Wing acting as escort cover to the bombers trying to destroy the V1 and V2 sites. Returning from one of these operations he had an accident on landing and was sent to Training Command as an Instructor! After converting to the twin engine Oxford he taught trainees at Southrop Advanced Flying Unit for a further six months when he was selected to be an instructor at Luisgate Bottom teaching ex-operational Bomber pilots to be OTU instructors. Whilst there, he gained an A2 instructing category. As not so many instructors were then required the Unit was closed down and he then went to Church Lawford where he taught Naval Officers to fly on Harvards without any preliminary training on simpler aircraft quite successfully!
Lt Col Douglas Duke Warren DFC CD
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| Lt Col Douglas Duke Warren DFC CD |
Douglas Duke Warren was Born in Nanton, Alta., in 1922, along with his twin brother Bruce joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) at the age of 18. After advanced training, the Warren twins flew two tours of operations with Royal Air Force Spitfire squadrons. After joining 403 Squadron, Duke Warren flew as part of 165 Squadron in the air battles over Dieppe. He fought over Falaise, and also served with 66 Sqn and 11 Group at Biggin Hill. In 1945, they were both awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses by King George VI at Buckingham Palace. He returned to Canada in May 1945, and along with Bruce joined the permanent RCAF in October 1946. Douglas became a Flight Commander with 421 Squadron flying DH Vampire jet aircraft at Chatham, New Brunswick. On April 5th, 1951, his brother Bruce was killed as a test pilot at AV Roe aircraft company in Toronto flying the prototype CF100 jet fighter. Duke became Commanding Officer of the F-86 Sabre-equipped 410 Squadron in 1952. The following year, he was attached to the United States Air Force and flew Sabres in Korea. Duke Warren flew 253 combat missions, including flying the F-86 Sabre in Korea. Sadly Duke Warren passed away Saturday August 27th 2011 in Comox at the age of 89.
Squadron Leader Bruce D Watson DFC
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| Squadron Leader Bruce D Watson DFC |
Joined the RAAF in December 1940. After initial training in Australia, gained his wings and graduated as a Pilot Officer in Canada. He sailed to the UK in 1941, then posted to 32 Sqn equipped with Hurricanes at Manston, gaining 2.5 victories. He then returned to Australia and joined 75 Sqn in June 1942. Flying Kittyhawks, Bruce took part in the Battle of Milne Bay as A Flight Commander and on 27th August 1942 he and Flg Off Peter Jones attacked 3 Val Dive Bombers over the Bay. They were credited with sharing 1 destroyed, 1 probable and 1 damaged. After serving at Milne Bay, he was posted to 2 OTU as an instructor. When Clive Caldwell formed 80 Fighter Wing RAAF in April 1944, he selected Watson to lead 457 Sqn. Bruce led the squadron from Darwin to, and operated from Morotai. Watsons Spitfire marked ZP-W was the first to wear the famed Grey Nurse scheme which the entire squadron adopted.
Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum DFC
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| Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum DFC |
Joined the RAF with a Short Service Commission in August 1939. He joined 92 Squadron flying Spitfires in June 1940 at the time of Dunkirk. He flew throug