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September 20 Battle Of Britain 80 Anniversary


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Amen. My grandfather was in the Royal Air Force-- in the First war;  he flew as an artillery spotter. He was born and raised in Vancouver, BC.

 

I had the good fortune to enter into a correspondence with, and then meet for several hours in 2002, Air Commodore Sir Archie Winskill KCVO DFC*,  a WWII Spitfire ace who fought in the latter part of the B of B. He shot down two Italian C-42s during the Battle. A little-know chapter of the air War-- the Italians believed their German compatriots that they were winning the Battle, and they wanted to be 'in at the kill'. So they sent their best biplanes. In fact, the C-42 was relatively formidable, as were several of the advanced pre-WWII biplanes. One of them shot out the canopy of Sir Archie's Spitfire.

 

He died at 88 in 2005. There are very few of the Few left now.

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Billy Bishop, a Canadian,  shot down 72 enemy aircraft during WWI.  His Son served during WWII and after the war he used to enjoy telling that between him and his Dad, they shot down 73 enemy aircraft.

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4 hours ago, Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619 said:

Amen. My grandfather was in the Royal Air Force-- in the First war;  he flew as an artillery spotter. He was born and raised in Vancouver, BC.

 

I had the good fortune to enter into a correspondence with, and then meet for several hours in 2002, Air Commodore Sir Archie Winskill KCVO DFC*,  a WWII Spitfire ace who fought in the latter part of the B of B. He shot down two Italian C-42s during the Battle. A little-know chapter of the air War-- the Italians believed their German compatriots that they were winning the Battle, and they wanted to be 'in at the kill'. So they sent their best biplanes. In fact, the C-42 was relatively formidable, as were several of the advanced pre-WWII biplanes. One of them shot out the canopy of Sir Archie's Spitfire.

 

He died at 88 in 2005. There are very few of the Few left now.

CR-42?

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16 hours ago, Cold Lake Kid, SASS # 51474 said:

Next Sunday, I'll be especially remembering my Father, relations and other heroes I got to know, the few, who flew in World War II 

71P1V+QvLoL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

Flight of Spitfires.jpg

 

I'm going to dig out the DVD and watch the movie, The Battle Of Britain again.

Gudda Gudda Gudda.

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13 hours ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

CR-42?

 

Right. Regia Aeronautica. He said the CR-42 was slow, but could turn very tightly.

 

He had been in the RAF reserve before the War, and so at 23 or so was older than many of the other pilots. They would go up during the day to fight, then in the evening would take the train into London and visit the steam baths and bars on Jermyn St. Then back up into the air the next day.

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4 hours ago, Buffalo Creek Law Dog said:

 

I'm going to dig out the DVD and watch the movie, The Battle Of Britain again.

Gudda Gudda Gudda.

Good flick. Ian McShane plays a pilot in that movie. His appearance and voice sure have changed since then (1969) and now. But then, so have the rest of us.  :) 

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Apparently there is just one surviving pilot now of the Battle of Britain:

 

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/last-surviving-battle-britain-pilot-22297770

 

Just a very few years ago when I last checked, there were still a couple of hundred alive; all very aged of course.

 

It's hard to contemplate that it won't be so long before all WWII vets are gone. A kid who lied about his age and got into the Navy in the last months of the War at 17, which is about as young as you could have been to be a WWII vet, would now  be 92 if still alive.

 

All the more reason to remember these things.

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As an Air Force Brat, over the course of a number of postings to various bases, I got to meet pilots from the war.

"Buck" McNair and my Dad were particularly good friends and my wife's Uncle was "Hap" or "Farmer" Kennedy. 

After the war, Hap went back to school and became a Doctor, living in Manotick, near where we live today.

Hap wrote an interesting book, based on his experiences, called "Black Crosses Off My Wing Tips"

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The stories some of these men could tell! When I met Sir Archie, then a knight, an extra equerry to the Queen, and the former Captain of the Queen's Flight (the branch of the RAF that was responsible for the air transport of the Royal family), he frankly told me that the custom in Britain for many years was that it was bad form to talk about 'one's war'. This was both because of Brit reticence, as well as the fact that everybody had suffered greatly, and so, there was little point.

 

He said it was easier to talk freely to a Yank 'gatecrasher', like me; but, as was true in the States also, men became more willing to talk as the decades went by.

 

He was shot down twice behind enemy lines, and evaded capture twice, one of very few men who were known to have  done so. The first time was over northern France, during 'Circus', when he baled out, was picked up by the Resistance, and was among the first taken down the 'Pat Line' to Marseilles. From there, they ultimately walked over the Pyrenees into Spain, where by established protocol they were arrested, and expelled to Gibraltar, and thus home.

 

After that, he could not fly over France, because possible capture and torture could lead to reveal of the Resistance escape lines. He was shot down a second time during Torch, in North Africa, and exfiltrated through German lines to the British army.

 

War stirs the pot. He began the War as an unemployed railroad staffer. He ended his life as a personal friend of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, after having served as Captain of the Queen's Flight for 14 years, and having overseen the flight training of Prince Charles, among other things.

 

So many great men. So hard to see them all go off the stage...

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Absolutely without any reduction in respect for the "So Few", there were a few Americans flying for the RAF during or shortly after the B of B.  I had a cousin who went to Canada before Pearl Harbor to enlist in the RCAF or was taken to Great Britain to the RAF. That was against U.S. law, and the Canadians were supposed to send American back.  One test the Canadians used to detect Americans was to have them recite the alphabet.  The trick was how the subject pronounced the last letter of the alphabet... if they pronounced it "zee", back they went. If they said, "zed" they were considered Canadian and allowed to enlist and go to pilot training, eventually becoming members of the Eagle Squadron.  Eagle Squadrons were actually divided into American Eagle Squadron and British Eagle Squadron.  Some of these expatriots stayed with the RAF after America got into the war. In my cousin's case, he transferred to the Army Air Forces, and eventually retired as a LTC in the U.S. Air Force.  Sadly, he died a few years ago of lung cancer.

All honor to all those who fought in the Battle of Britain and WWII.

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1 hour ago, Trailrider #896 said:

Absolutely without any reduction in respect for the "So Few", there were a few Americans flying for the RAF during or shortly after the B of B.

 

Didn't Ben Affleck single-handedly win that battle for the Brits? :huh:

 

I've got relatives in the UK, and they told me how pissed off they were by that movie. It was almost as bad as U-570, which made people believe the US Navy captured most of the Enigma Code machines.

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16 hours ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

What movie was that?

 

I’m only aware of Ben being a fighter pilot hero at Pearl Harbor and also bombing Tokyo. All in the same movie. 

 

It was Pearl Harbor. Not only did he shoot down Japanese planes at Pearl and rescued men from the Oklahoma and bombed Japan with Doolittle, but early in the movie he went to England to fight the Battle of Britain and nearly single-handedly shot down the entire Luftwaffe. But then he had to ditch in the sea, was declared dead and his sexy girlfriend went off with his best friend. What a way to treat history's biggest badass.

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34 minutes ago, Sixgun Sheridan said:

 

It was Pearl Harbor. Not only did he shoot down Japanese planes at Pearl and rescued men from the Oklahoma and bombed Japan with Doolittle, but early in the movie he went to England to fight the Battle of Britain and nearly single-handedly shot down the entire Luftwaffe. But then he had to ditch in the sea, was declared dead and his sexy girlfriend went off with his best friend. What a way to treat history's biggest badass.

I had forgotten about the BOB story. I don't even remember who his best friend was. I remember Kate Beckinsdale as the babe, but forgot her role in the movie.

All in all, a really awful and forgettable movie.

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13 minutes ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

I had forgotten about the BOB story. I don't even remember who his best friend was. I remember Kate Beckinsdale as the babe, but forgot her role in the movie.

All in all, a really awful and forgettable movie.

I don't remember it.

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1 hour ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

I had forgotten about the BOB story. I don't even remember who his best friend was. I remember Kate Beckinsdale  Beckinsale as the babe, but forgot her role in the movie.

All in all, a really awful and forgettable movie.

 

Except for the parts with Kate Beckinsale aka Nurse Johnson. 

 

image.thumb.jpeg.0fe908ed511016256218018f1875e7ac.jpeg

 

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On 9/15/2020 at 2:30 PM, Trailrider #896 said:

Absolutely without any reduction in respect for the "So Few", there were a few Americans flying for the RAF during or shortly after the B of B.  I had a cousin who went to Canada before Pearl Harbor to enlist in the RCAF or was taken to Great Britain to the RAF. That was against U.S. law, and the Canadians were supposed to send American back.  One test the Canadians used to detect Americans was to have them recite the alphabet.  The trick was how the subject pronounced the last letter of the alphabet... if they pronounced it "zee", back they went. If they said, "zed" they were considered Canadian and allowed to enlist and go to pilot training, eventually becoming members of the Eagle Squadron.  Eagle Squadrons were actually divided into American Eagle Squadron and British Eagle Squadron.  Some of these expatriots stayed with the RAF after America got into the war. In my cousin's case, he transferred to the Army Air Forces, and eventually retired as a LTC in the U.S. Air Force.  Sadly, he died a few years ago of lung cancer.

All honor to all those who fought in the Battle of Britain and WWII.

 

My Father was an instructor with the BCATP (British Commonwealth Air Training Plan) and told the story of US volunteers in the RCAF, who when culled because of the manner of pronouncing words, were told the correct way to speak, to go to their hotel, practice and return tomorrow!

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