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Battle Of Britain Day; Sunday15th September 1940.

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Today, Sunday 15th September, is Battle Of Britain Day in England.

On this day in 1940 - now 79 years ago - the airborne conflict known as the Battle Of Britain  reached  its climax. 

The outcome at the end of this day altered Hitler's plans - there would be no sea-borne invasion of the British Isles - and thus the course of World War II.

I was born in June 1954; now 65, I owe my freedom - indeed, probably my life - to those who fought on behalf of the British on this day and all through the summer of 1940 - now 79 years ago.

When I was a young boy at boarding school, veterans of both World Wars would occasionally come and lecture on their experiences; Tangmere aerodrome was at the end of the school playing fields, we dug up pieces of crashed aircraft, there were still bombsites dotted throughout England. 

It is not in the news so much this year;  by now unfortunately almost every single veteran of the battle has passed away. 

I have to mark today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Britain_Day

 

Edited by jdgm

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Weird coincidence!

I was reading about both Johnnie Johnson and Douglas Bader - two of the RAF's best known fighter aces - just yesterday and, at one stage of the war, both of these pilots flew out of Tangmere as part of the 'Duxford Wing'. I first heard of Johnson - in common with many kids of my age (60) through assembling the Airfix 1/72 plastic kit based on his Spitfire Mark IX. Both Bader and Johnson had the rank of Wing Leader and one perk of this rank was that the individual's aircraft Identification Insignia could be the pilot's initials hence Johnnie (actually James Edgar) Johnson's Spit was marked J E J.

Anyone interested in this chapter of the War who has not read the book / seen the film 'Reach for the Sky' - the biopic of Bader - really should have a read through his wiki entry. To say 'They don't make them like that anymore' is a colossal understatement.

Winston Churchill summed up the victory of the Battle of Britain with his now-legendary phrase;

"Never, in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many to so few."

As true today as it was back then.

Bader's Wiki entry;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Bader

...and just for giggles here's the box art of JEJ's Mk IX;

JEJ-Spit.jpg

Thanks for posting, Ian!

Pip.

Edited by pippy

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Hail the Heroes who put there lives on the line for our freedom. 

Who is braver than these souls? 

Battle of Britain was full of them.  🇬🇧 

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The Battle of Britain has been something of a fascination of mine since my early days and now I live 'down south' the place has so many connections with the conflict it's astonishing where things might turn up. I live just a handful of miles from one of the most famous RAF bases of the time of the B.o.B. - RAF Biggin Hill - and, just inside the perimeter fence next to the Pilot's chapel, there are full-size facsimilies of both a Hawker Hurricane and a Supermarine Spitfire as a lasting memento to those pilots who served in the days when squadrons of these aircraft types operated out of the airfield. The airfield is still in use today. It is no longer a part of the modern RAF but the 'old' part of the complex still has the original RAF markings on the gates! Here's a pic of one of the gates' shadow;

lo-res-L1002079-v3-Monochrome.jpg

Furthermore; we sometimes fly out of Southampton Airport when we head to France. The first time we went down I was amazed to see this sculpture which had been erected on a roundabout on the approach-road for the airport. It turns out that the Supermarine Aircraft works was sited on the old airport where the modern airport now stands!

lo-res-L1440447-v1.jpg

Lastly; a small 'Damn You, you Lucky Blighters!' to all those fortunate enough to have obtained tickets for the upcoming Goodwood Revival Motor Race weekend. The race circuit is based (like Silverstone) on the perimeter road of the former RAF Westhampnet airbase (which is only a few miles away from Tangmere!). This was home to pilots from both the RAF and the USAF during WWII and there is always one of the most spectacular air displays of the types of aircraft which operated from the base.

Pip.

Edited by pippy

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Yes, lets never forget them.

In my youth I was lucky enough to meet a couple of ex Battle of Britain pilots when I was learning to fly gliders, one of whom was a Polish guy called Stefan who flew Hurricanes. A great character who was full of light hearted, amusing stories and much missed.  

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I have been amazed at how young the pilots were that took part in "The Battle of Britain". Climbing into the cockpit of the most advanced aircraft of the time that Britain could produce, like the Hurricane and Spitfire. Most had very few hours of training and then to be cut loose behind the reins of a Rolls Royce Merlin to protect their homes. So much is owed to those young men, because if the Island Fortress had fallen the world would be a different place today.

Edited by mihcmac

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5 hours ago, pippy said:

Thanks for posting, Ian:-k:rolleyes:

 

 

Spitfire260812.jpg

 

Edited by jdgm
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My grandfather survived that one, and therefore got to see my uncle born.

Nine months later over Hamburg, he did not.

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OOPS!

Sorry for the massive brain fart, jdgm. Obviously my thanks were intended to head-off in your direction.

Apologies!

Pip.

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On ‎9‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 10:03 AM, jdgm said:

yToday, Sunday 15th September, is Battle Of Britain Day in England.

On this day in 1940 - now 79 years ago - the airborne conflict known as the Battle Of Britain  reached  its climax. 

The outcome at the end of this day altered Hitler's plans - there would be no sea-borne invasion of the British Isles - and thus the course of World War II.

I was born in June 1954; now 65, I owe my freedom - indeed, probably my life - to those who fought on behalf of the British on this day and all through the summer of 1940 - now 79 years ago.

When I was a young boy at boarding school, veterans of both World Wars would occasionally come and lecture on their experiences; Tangmere aerodrome was at the end of the school playing fields, we dug up pieces of crashed aircraft, there were still bombsites dotted throughout England. 

It is not in the news so much this year;  by now unfortunately almost every single veteran of the battle has passed away. 

I have to mark today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Britain_Day

 

It was a different breed of cat that fought in WWII.  My father fought in the South Pacific in the Navy, my uncle Jack flew bomber escort out of Dover and spent 3 years in a German POW camp. I had an uncle Harry who was killed in Guam as a member of the USMC.  My  pop and Jack  came home from the war and helped create the greatest economic and baby boom in this nations history. And I never heard a word from my father or my uncle gripe about the war.

Edited by Navy Vet.

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I was watching a show on this subject where the pointed out that Hitler's initial strategy of bombing airfield and other strategic military targets altered into vengeance when the RAF bombed a big german city (Hamburg?) and he targeted London out of anger, not military strategy.  This cost him the entire engagement as the RAF could concentrated on large centrally located bombers instead of them being spread out and the small RAF could amass in powerful strike forces.

There was a lot made about the use of radar, but the Germans know all about radar and was initially going to destroy those, and didn't.

So you see not only the supreme bravery of those fighting against large odds, but also the human failure of one mind due to hubris, arrogance, greed.  Lots of good lessons.

As an American, reading about the Battle of Britain, it feels like a great HUMAN achievement belonging to mankind forever.

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The lineage of the Spitfire...... The Supermarine S.6B below still holds the World Speed Record of over 407mph set in 1931 at the Schneider Trophy competition. Designed By R. J. Mitchell who later designed the Spitfire, when he felt the Germans were getting too rambunctious. Mitchell was obsessed with the Spitfire design, but he had it 99% done before he died from illness and exhaustion. The engineers at Supermarine were able to complete his efforts and started rolling out Spitfires using shops from all over England to produce components and final assembly. None too soon because the Germans came, en masse looking for a quick kill, but they didn't get it but found the Spitfire and Hurricane waiting for them...

800px-Supermarine_S.6B_ExCC.jpg

My Dad, a B-24 Pilot, had an S.6B model on his dresser including a Spitfire...

Edited by mihcmac

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Your dad must have been an incredibly brave man, the life expectancy of bomber crews were not great, we all owe him.

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There's another Southampton Spitfire Tribute Replica in Hamble Lane. Not as large (its about  4.5ft wingspan) on the roadside commemorating the  ATA. The aluminium model was made by G.E. Aviation (formerly AHL and originally Follands Aircraft founded in 1936) also in Hamble Lane.  I retired from there 2 years ago with 37 years service. 

Of course the factory also made actual Spitfire assemblies (15,000 of them) during WW2. All that was well before my time of course, nevertheless it was a buzz for us to have some sort of continuity link when that project came our way. 

mary-ellis-ata-memorial-hamble-2-use-my-

 

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1 hour ago, merciful-evans said:

...The aluminium model was made by G.E. Aviation (formerly AHL and originally Follands Aircraft founded in 1936) also in Hamble Lane.  I retired from there 2 years ago with 37 years service...

 

...as in the manufacturers of the Folland Gnat? The aircraft used (amongst other roles) by the Red Arrows in the days of my youth?

:-k

That's heading back to my Airfix days once more. FWIW I have always greatly preferred the Gnat over the Hawk. VERY elegant craft.

Pip.

Edited by pippy

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10 hours ago, IanHenry said:

Your dad must have been an incredibly brave man, the life expectancy of bomber crews were not great, we all owe him.

My dad wanted to be a fighter pilot. When he was selected for B-24 school the thought of being responsible for the lives of his crew, scared him to death. So he really applied himself to his training. He scored so high in school that the AAF would not let him go over seas and kept him as a B-24 pilot instructor. Fortunately for me as the mortality rate of B-24 crews was so high.

Edited by mihcmac

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1 hour ago, mihcmac said:

My dad wanted to be a fighter pilot. When he was selected for B-24 school the thought of being responsible for the lives of his crew, scared him to death. So he really applied himself to his training. He scored so high in school that the AAF would not let him go over seas and kept him as a B-24 pilot instructor. Fortunately for me as the mortality rate of B-24 crews was so high.

I've always been infatuated by WWII and agree, the Battle of Britain in 1940 was the turning point for the European theatre.  My Dad was a medic in the South Pacific. My wife's office borders Zamperini field in Torrance, California (named after Japanese POW Louis Zamperini). Unbroken was the movie of his story. The Collings collection of Vintage aircraft is stationed there 3 months out of the year. You can even pay to ride in their aircraft. They have the world's only flying B-24 Liberator (aka flying coffin - no wonder mihcmac is glad his dad didn't fly in one).

I occasionally work remotely in her office and one day the planes were taking off and landing. It was such a thrill.

306098157_B24.jpg.680d0da6cc2f0cc928090c0191109f52.jpg

Here's The "Witchcraft" Sorry, I wish I was like One L (Pip) and could actually take decent photos. This was out of her office window. She was having a patient conference when I burst into her room (better windows in her office) and said, "So sorry but I have to take a picture of this plane!"

 

Here's another that just landed:

1810699090_P51.jpg.15d51e138fbc621952de37e0a89054d2.jpg

I've read that the P-51 Merlin engine has a distinctive sound. It does. Gives chills.

 

 

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5 hours ago, merciful-evans said:

There's another Southampton Spitfire Tribute Replica in Hamble Lane. Not as large (its about  4.5ft wingspan) on the roadside commemorating the  ATA. The aluminium model was made by G.E. Aviation (formerly AHL and originally Follands Aircraft founded in 1936) also in Hamble Lane.  I retired from there 2 years ago with 37 years service.

 

That is very interesting, M.E. What did you do?

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2 hours ago, Tman said:

...I occasionally work remotely in her office and one day the planes were taking off and landing. It was such a thrill.

306098157_B24.jpg.680d0da6cc2f0cc928090c0191109f52.jpg

Here's The "Witchcraft" Sorry, I wish I was like One L (Pip) and could actually take decent photos. This was out of her office window. She was having a patient conference when I burst into her room (better windows in her office) and said, "So sorry but I have to take a picture of this plane!"...

Here's another that just landed:

1810699090_P51.jpg.15d51e138fbc621952de37e0a89054d2.jpg

I've read that the P-51 Merlin engine has a distinctive sound. It does. Gives chills....

 

No need in the slightest to make apologies for those very atmospheric photo's, Two L's. Lovely images! And what a treat to come across by chance. It must have been wonderful to see them at such close quarters.

The Rolls-Royce Merlin is something else entirely! It really does have to be heard in 'real life' for an understanding of how different it sounds from 'regular fare' to be properly appreciated. A few months ago some friends and families had met up with ourselves for an afternoon out walking around (part of the) the 3,000 acre estate/deer park of an old ex-Royal Palace (Knowle) some 20 miles south of here. It's on the 'other side' of the hill from us of the ex-RAF base aka Biggin Hill mentioned in an earlier post. Many light aircraft are flying overhead all the time as Biggin Hill is popular with learners, weekend pilots, small uncharted flights and so on. But half-an-hour after we started our ramble there was an altogether much more 'Basso Profundo' note to be heard. Realising that something VERY different was about to pass-by overhead I  managed to rattle-off a few frames quickly before the 'craft was lost to view.

I post these images just to show that I can take crap photos as well as half-way decent ones. No problem! I feel that, in order to place no blame on my camera, I should point out that the Spit WAS at c. 300ft altitude and the camera had, through no fault of its own, been fitted with a 28mm wide-angle lens. Not ideal for small subjects far off. Mea Culpa, I'm afraid.

First the cropped image - showing the distinctive D-Day stripes on the wing and rear fuselage;

v2-lo-res-crop-L1441087.jpg

Secondly the full-frame showing that I hadn't given my equipment a chocolate teapot's chance of obtaining a decent snap;

v2-lo-res-L1441087.jpg

It sounded MAGNIFICENT!!!!!

Pip.

Edited by pippy
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The Rolls-Royce Merlin: I think this is a MK 9 (5-blade prop) being serviced or repaired at Duxford, 2011 -

Duxford119Web.jpg

 

I posted a pic above, of a Spit in flight at Dunsfold Wings & Wheels 2012. Here is the same aircraft in repose at Duxford the year before. Probably my best shot.

 

Duxford149-Web.jpg

Edited by jdgm

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25 minutes ago, jdgm said:

The Rolls-Royce Merlin: think this is a MK 9 being serviced or repaired at Duxford, 2011 -

Duxford119Web.jpg

 

With the very greatest respect and in the full knowledge that I could well be wrong, of course, jdgm but as that has a 5-blade (but not twin-5-blade-contra-rotating) prop, bubble canopy and the twin-22mm guns by my reckoning it is the fighter variant of the Rolls-Royce 'Griffon 65' engined Spit XVIII.

Most embarrased and sincere apologies in advance if I'm talking shite.

[blush]

In any event and whatever the case might be I DO love your photographss. Love the F4U-1D Corsair (is that with RAF South-East Asia roundels?) in the background of the above snap. Thanks for posting!

[thumbup]

Pip.

Edited by pippy

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21 hours ago, Tman said:

 (aka flying coffin - no wonder mihcmac is glad his dad didn't fly in one).

I've read that the P-51 Merlin engine has a distinctive sound. It does. Gives chills.

My dad flew hundreds of hours training B-24 pilots with lots of harrowing experiences... He was not allowed to go over seas, if he had I might not have been born..

19 hours ago, pippy said:

The Rolls-Royce Merlin is something else entirely! It really does have to be heard in 'real life' for an understanding of how different it sounds from 'regular fare' to be properly appreciated.

It sounded MAGNIFICENT!!!!!

Pip.

Each merlin powered aircraft produced its own unique sound. The P-51's  gun barrels whistled adding to the sound of the Packard RR Merlin..

Edited by mihcmac

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