Our shows on the 8th and 9th November were a great success and we
are only too pleased to show you some photos taken on both days.
Rather more photos from the Saturday as we were lucky to have a
good photographer along on the day – on Sunday I was Chief
Photographer and as you can see, photography is not exactly my strong
Commander Branse Burbridge DSO and Bar DFC and Bar signing one of
the many items brought in by collectors.
“Safely Home” featuring Branse Burbridge in his Mosquito
and a Lancaster from 57 Squadron. Original oil painting (approx.
24” x 15”)signed on the reverse both by Branse Burbridge
and 57 Squadron Lancaster pilot Phil Ainley. £ Please contact
Hawks”. New painting featuring Branse Burbridge and his navigator
Skelton shooting down a Bf 110 over Germany. Size 24” x 10”
£Please contact us.
Signed on the back of the canvas by Wing Commander Branse Burbridge
DFC and Bar, DSO and Bar..
to be published as a limited edition print signed by two night-fighter
pilots. Advance orders for this very limited edition print now be
taken for delivery in January.
Flt. Lt. Phil Ainley DFC Lancaster pilot of 57 Sqn. who completed
(Foreground) Flight Lieutenant Peter Arkell, OBE, USAF Medal Of
Distinction, joined the RAFVR in 1940 and was sent by convoy to
Canada and then to Arizona for pilot training. In 1942 he was posted
to 26 Squadron at Gatwick where he flew Mustangs and Spitfires on
low level intruder raids and coastline photography. In 1944 he joined
161 SD (Special Duties) Squadron at Tempsford and in a double Lysander
operation saw the second aircraft shot down killing the pilot and
the two returning agents.
Gill. 617 Sqn. Flight Mechanic who worked on the Dambuster aircraft.
Beavis (collector) with Philip West on the right. Gordon is the
new, proud owner of this magnificent painting.
Gordon with Victor Gill.
Keen collectors taking an interest in Stephen Brown’s fabulous
a small selection of Stephen’s art on display.
thought you might like these background details on each
WWII gentleman who attended our shows.on the 8th and 9th November
Flight Lieutenant Peter Arkell, OBE, USAF Medal Of Distinction,
joined the RAFVR in 1940 and was sent by convoy to Canada and then
to Arizona for pilot training. In 1942 he was posted to 26 Squadron
at Gatwick where he flew Mustangs and Spitfires on low level intruder
raids and coastline photography. In 1944 he joined 161 SD (Special
Duties) Squadron at Tempsford and in a double Lysander operation
saw the second aircraft shot down killing the pilot and the two
returning agents. Peter was then transferred with six Lysanders
to India, and then flew on to Burma to 357 Squadron. Here he continued
to fly dangerous Lysander operations behind the Japanese lines supplying
Force 136. On his thirty-fifth mission in August 1945 he attempted
to land in the mountains during a monsoon and was seriously injured.
The local Burmese mountain people took good care of him and both
he and his passenger were rescued by another Lysander.
Flt Lt Phil Ainley DFC (57 Sqn. Pilot) was accepted for aircrew
training in February 1942 at the age of 17½ years. He was
selected for pilot training and was sent to the United States Naval
Aviation base in Pensacola. After gaining his United States Navy
wings on completion of his Catalina flying boat course, he was commissioned
and returned to the UK. Following retraining on land planes, he
eventually joined No. 57 Lancaster squadron in May 1944.
squadron was heavily engaged in attacking both French flying bomb
sites, the build up to D. Day and German industrial targets. One
sortie to Konigsberg necessitated flying for 11 hours 10 minutes,
whilst another was to drop mines in the Stettin canal from 250 feet.
For this last sortie Flt Lt Ainley was awarded an immediate DFC.
completed his operational tour of 33 sorties in October 1944, having
flown all this time with the same crew with the exception of a replacement
completing a course at the Bomber Command Instructors School, he
became a flying instructor in Bomber Command.
Wing Commander Branse Burbridge DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar (85
Sqn. Pilot) gained his wings in 1941. Putting duty before personal
feelings as a conscientious objector Branse, together with his navigator,
Bill Skelton, became known as “the night hawk partners”.
two of them went on to shoot down 21 enemy aircraft - 16 during
a seven-month period. The total included a Bf110 and three Ju88Gs
during the night of 4-5 November 1944. Their officially credited
21 enemy aircraft destroyed made the pair the top night fighting
crew in the whole of the RAF. Branse recalls, “I always tried
to aim for the wings of enemy aircraft – and not the cockpit.
I never wanted to kill anyone.”
citations for their awards paid tribute to both men setting “an
unsurpassed example of outstanding keenness and devotion to duty”.
Flight Mechanic Victor Gill worked on two Dambuster Lancaster
aircraft before the raids. One was piloted by Flt. Lt. Bill Astell
and the other by Sqn. Ldr. Melvin ‘Dinghy’ Young. Vic
retains to this day clear recollections of both men and their aircraft.
The bombs arrived covered in red oxide and Vic was one of the men
whose job it was to paint them black to blend in with the dark underside
of the aircraft.
SUNDAY 9th November.
Sqn. Ldr. Ron Waite was a Pilot with 76 sqn flying 17 ops.
before being transferred to become a Flying Instructor on both Lancaster
and Halifax aircraft. On the Tirpitz raid Ron was Flight Engineer.
Despite being 92 years of age Ron has travelled from Weston Super
Mare to be with us today.
Flt/Lt 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.
F/O Tony (Titch) Hallett DFC a member of 198 Rocket Firing
Typhoon Squadron operated from bases in Southern England (Manston
to Hurn). Operating from Thorney Island on D-Day and then from several
landing strips on The Beachhead, France and Belgium between January
and November 1944.
Fighter Pilot training in the USA in 1941/42 he returned to the
UK for conversion to Hurricanes and was then posted to an Army Co-operation
Unit in Northern Ireland where he gained valuable experience flying
various types of aircraft, i.e. Defiant, Lysander, Hurricane, Martinet
and Twin Engine Oxford. His operational flying from Southern England
consisted mainly of attacking the many strongly defended Radar Stations
from Ostend to Cherbourg and on two occasions changed from rockets
to bombs for attacks on Noball Targets (flying bomb sites).
from the landing strips consisted, with close Army Support, taking
out Gun Positions, attacking Tanks and destroying anything that
moved in enemy territory all against very heavy enemy Flak. He completed
in excess of 100 sorties and since 1984 has revisited Normandy on
many occasions. He attended the official funerals of two 198 Squadron
Pilots whose aircraft wreckage had been discovered as many as 41
and 49 years after the events.