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|Signatures on this item|
Flight Lieutenant Trevor Gray (deceased)
|Trevor Gray joined the RAFVR in 1939 and was called for service on the outbreak of war. As he was only partially trained, he completed his flying training and after being awarded his wings was posted to 7 OTU at Hawarden After training Trevor Gray was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in August 1940. Converted onto Spitfires, and with the Battle of Britain at its Climax, he was urgently posted to join 64 Squadron at Leconfield, arriving on 16th September 1940. The Squadron had re-equipped from Blenheims to Spitfires earlier that year as it fought in the great air battles over Dunkirk, before seeing hectic action in the Battle of Britain. he damaged a Bf 110 in December 1940. He left the Squadron on April 3 1941 having completed his tour and was posted to 58 OTU at Grangemouth as an instructor from there he was posted to Castletown, the most northerly station on the mainland, to join 124 Squadron which was then being formed. Trevor Gray was then given a post as a research engineer officer at RAE Farnborough and finally left the RAF in 1946 as a flight Lieutenant. He died on 21st January 2012.|
Flight Lieutenant William J. Corbin DFC (deceased)
|Already a member of the RAFVR, William Corbin was called up for active duty in September 1939. Following training and conversion to Spitfires, in September 1940 he was posted as a Sergeant Pilot to join 66 Squadron at Coltishall. With the exception of a few weeks spent with 610 Squadron he remained with 66 Squadron until September 1941. Commissioned in June 1942, he returned to combat flying in September, joining 72 Squadron with whom he went to North Africa. Here he shared in a probable Me109 and damaged another, and in August 1943 was awarded the DFC. Sadly he passed away on 8th December 2012.|
Squadron Leader Percival H. Beake DFC (deceased)
|Joining the RAFVR in April 1939, Percival Beake was mobilised at the outbreak of war. Posted to 64 Squadron on Spitfires in the summer of 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain, he flew with them until June 1941 when he was posted first to 92 Squadron at Biggin Hill, and then 601 Squadron at Duxford. After a spell instructing he returned for his second tour in December 1942, joining 193 Squadron as a Flight Commander. In May 1944 he took command of 164 Squadron at Thorney Island flying Typhoons, moving to France shortly after the Normandy Invasion. With two victories to his credit he was awarded the DFC in September 1944. |
Starting with 6th August 1944 my log book records that a successful attack was carried out on an enemy strong point in a quarry and that on the following morning I flew home on a very rare 48 hour leave. For a few days after my return we had only one specific target - an enemy dump which we effectively bombarded with rockets on 11th August - so we were deployed on armed reconnaissances. After landing from one of these on 13th August my Wing Commander, Walter Dring, called me to his caravan and said - Beaky, you have just done your last op. You are not to fly again and that is an order, until returning to the UK. I am arranging for your relief as soon as possible. - I was absolutely stunned and my lasting memory of that period is not of carnage but of acute embarrassment at having been grounded. I just hated sending the squadron up without myself leading and remember making frequent calls to the met office hoping to get forecasts of filthy weather that would make operational flying impossible. In the event, my relief, Squadron Leader Ian Waddy, was shot down by flak within two or three days of taking over command, so maybe Wally Dring had some sort of premonition that prompted my grounding.
Percival Beake died on 25th June 2016.
|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.|
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