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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Group Captain Byron Duckenfield AFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £45
|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.
Wing Commander George W Swanwick (deceased)
*Signature Value : £45
|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.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Spitfire||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.|
See our aviation history timeline for all today's historical aviation events - air victories, aircraft losses and pilot details.
|RECENT UPDATES TO OUR AVIATION HISTORY DATABASES|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Pilot Officer Oliver Bertram Morrogh-Ryan : First name updated (now Oliver Bertram), Deceased updated, Aircraft updated, Squadrons updated (added No.68 Sqn RAF), Airframes updated, Squadron service dates updated, Rank updated (now Pilot Officer)|
|New victory claim added : Me109 (Probable victory) claimed on 2nd June 1940 by James Baird Coward of No.19 Sqn RAF|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Wellington T2888 : Aircrew updated|
|Flight Lieutenant Roy Pengilley added to aircrew database :|
A pilot with 625 Sqn before being chosen for Pathfinders on Lancasters, joining 582 Sqn and completing 59 operations. Roy was wounded on a daylight operation spending two months in hospital, finally completing his tour in March 1945.
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Whitley T4217 : Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Whitley's crew were unable to pinpoint their position and abandoned the aircraft at Bircham Newton. )|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Hampden AD719 : Airframe notes updated (added 10-02-1941 : Hampden was shot down by an intruder and crashed near Grange Farm in Sudbrooke, Lincoln. Sergeants Butterworth and Caldwell were killed.)|
|New victory claim added : Fw190 claimed on 2nd May 1943 by Stanislaw Brzeski of No.302 Sqn RAF|
|Flying Fortress Mk.F-85-BO 42-30042 of 349th Bomb Squadron added to the airframes database.|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Wellington R1646 :|
|Squadron Leader Stanislav Jozefiak added to aircrew database :|
Escaping Poland in 1939, and already a pilot, Stan completed 2 full tours on Wellingtons with 304 Sqn, Bomber Command. After a period of training he returned to action flying Spitfires with 317 Sqn, part of the 2nd TAF. After the war Stan was to fly Dakotas for the CIA.
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