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|Extra Details : Seek and Destroy by Robin Smith.|
|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.|
Sqdn Ldr H C Baker
*Signature Value : £20
|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.|
Squadron Leader Doug Nicholls DFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £45
|A pre-war RAFVR pilot, in June 1940 Nicholls converted to Hurricanes at 7 OTU, Hawarden. Nicholls flew during the Battle of Britain with 85 and 242 and in September joined 151 Squadron.at Digby On September 30, 1940, he shared in the destruction of a Ju 88 and returned to Digby with his Hurricane P 5182 severely damaged by return fire. Nicholls spent only a brief time with 242 but Bader made a considerable impression. After a hard day Nicholls remembers Bader taking off his legs and dressing the stumps with lotion and talcum powder. Few people realise, Nicholls feels, just how much strain combat flying with artificial legs must have been. Later in the war Nicholls flew Hurricanes with 258 Squadron in the Far East to Seletar airfield, Singapore and flew their first operation on January 31 1942. On February 10 1942 the three surviving Hurricanes of 258 were withdrawn to Palembang with the fifteen surviving pilots, six remained behind to fly with 605 Squadron, with Nicholls being one of the nine evacuated from Java to Ceylon. 258 Squadron was reformed at Ratmalana on March 1 1942 and Nicholls rejoined it. Awarded the DFC (19.5.44) he remained with 258 until August 1944, when he was posted to HQ 224 Group, Burma, as Squadron Leader Tactics. Squadron Leader Doug Nicholls, who has died aged 95, flew Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain, avoided capture in Java and earned the DFC flying ground attack missions in Burma. Nicholls and his fellow pilots of No 258 Squadron had just arrived in the Middle East as reinforcements in 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. It was decided to rush the squadron to Singapore and it embarked on the aircraft carrier Indomitable before sailing for the Far East. On January 28 1942, 22 Hurricanes took off from the carrier and departed on the three-hour flight to Batavia. After refuelling, Nicholls headed for Palembang in the south of Sumatra. During the hazardous crossings, the squadron had lost a quarter of its aircraft before facing the Japanese. Two pilots were soon lost in combat. On February 6, the airfield at Palembang was attacked. Nicholls managed to damage a Japanese bomber but he was attacked by a Zero fighter and was forced to bail out over the jungle 30 miles from his airfield. Nicholls started walking and eventually commandeered a car, but found that his squadron had been forced to evacuate Palembang. When the car ran out of petrol he traded it for a railway ticket to a nearby port where he escaped to Batavia to rejoin his depleted squadron. It was soon decided to withdraw the squadron and leave six pilots to fly the only remaining Hurricanes. Three volunteered to stay and the remainder cut cards, the three drawing the lowest to remain. Nicholls cut a jack, which was high enough for him to join the party to be evacuated. On February 28, just six of the 22 pilots who had arrived a few weeks earlier sailed for Ceylon on an overcrowded boat. Those left behind were either killed or became PoWs for the next three years.|
|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 : W. A. Fullerton : Squadrons updated (added No.58 Sqn RAF), Squadron service dates updated|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Hampden AD734 : Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Hampden was abandoned after flying into a balloon cable over Birmingham. It's believed that the Hampden was set onto auto-pilot following the collision, and eventually crashed into the Irish sea.)|
|Warrant Officer Dennis Baker added to aircrew database :|
Originally a Halton Brat, Dennis qualified as a Flight Engineer serving with 75 Sqn on Stirlings. Shot down on his third operation returning from Frankfurt on 3rd December 1942, he was held as a PoW for nearly three years in camps including Stalag Luft I, Lutz VI and 357.
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Bell : Squadrons updated (added No.58 Sqn RAF), Squadron service dates updated|
|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.
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Wellington T2888 : Aircrew updated, Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Wellington was abandoned and crashed at Stags Holt Elm in Cambridgeshire. Sergeants Beal and Clough were killed.)|
|99th Bomb Group added to the squadrons database.|
|New victory claim added : Me109 claimed on 5th September 1940 by Flight Lieutenant A. C. Rabagliati of No.46 Sqn RAF|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Pates : Squadrons updated (added No.149 Sqn RAF), Squadron service dates updated|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Whitley P5013 : Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Whitley was unable to comply with diversion order and subsequently was abandoned at Hatfield Military Complex.)|
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