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|Signatures on this item|
Air Commodore C D Kit North Lewis DSO DFC (deceased)
|After joining the Army in 1939, Kit North Lewis transferred to the RAF in 1940. In Aug 1941, after pilot training, he was posted to 13 Squadron, flying Blenheims, where he took part in the first 1000 bomber raids. After a spell with 26 Squadron, flying P-51 Mustangs, in Feb 1944 he joined 182 Squadron on Typhoons, as a Flight Commander. A few months later he was posted to command 181 Squadron. He led this squadron into France where it became part of 124 Typhoon Wing. In Aug 1944 he was promoted Wing Leader 124 Wing, where he remained until the end of the war. He died on 25th March 2008. 'Unfortunately my active participation in the Falaise operations was limited as I had a mild form of dysentery from 8th to 14th and I was sent home for a weeks recuperation from 16th to 24th August. However, I was very much involved on the 7th in the German attack at Mortain. I was leading 181 Squadron on an armed reconnaissance when Charles Green who was then the Wing Leader of 121 Wing reported large German tank concentrations at Mortain. Although this was inside the bomb line I accepted his verification and I immediately diverted to Mortain. There we found German tanks strung out along the road. We claimed 10 flamers. I followed this up with two more sorties in which we claimed another 7. There was very little flak, the main danger being the number of allied aircraft around the honey pot. During the period 6th to 21st August the Wing lost 9 pilots killed including Group Captain Charles Appleton and 4 taken POW.'|
Flight Lieutenant Basil Tatters Tatham (deceased)
|Basil Tatham was born on the 13th of March 1921 in Bardolfs, Knebworth and later went to St Edwards in 1936 following many months in Middlesex hospital with osteomyelitis, which nearly cost him his leg. Despite this he went on to follow his father in to the 1st XI cricket team, became captain of shooting, entered the Officer Training Corps and passed his school certificates. After finishing school in 1940 he could have gone on to university but felt duty bound to join the RAF. Basil was training in the Battle of Britain, but served through two tours as a pilot flying Hurricanes, Spitfires, Typhoons and Tempests. Tatters Tatham first flew Hurricanes with 79 Squadron, and then in 1941 on Atlantic convoys with the MSFU before being torpedoed. In May 1942 he was posted to 257 Squadron on Hurricane night fighters, before joining 247 Squadron on Typhoons. After a brief rest period instructing, he rejoined 247 Squadron the day before D-day, and spent the following months destroying German tanks and other ground targets. Basil Tatham ended the war as a Flight-Lieutenant, (he was an acting Squadron Leader) with a number of medals including the Croix de Guerre Avec Etoile de Vermeil (F). He survived being shot down twice. Sadly he passed away on 2nd December 2007.|
Squadron Leader Basil Stapleton DFC (deceased)
|Born in South Africa, Basil Stapleton joined the RAF in Jan 1939, being posted to 603 Sqn flying Spitfires. He first saw action off Scotland, sharing in the destruction of two bombers, before the Squadron was posted south to Hornchurch during the height of the Battle of Britain. By Nov 1940 his tally had risen to 6 and 2 shared victories and 8 probables. In March 1942 he was posted to 257 Sqn as flight commander. In August 1944 he commanded 247 Sqn flying Typhoons, taking part in the Arnhem operations. In December 1944, whilst attacking a train, debris hit his aircraft forcing him to land behind enemy lines where he was taken prisoner of war. Stapme Stapleton had scored 6 victories, plus 2 shared, 5 probable and 2 damaged. Sadly, we have learned that Basil Stapleton passed away on 13th April 2010.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Typhoon||Single engine fighter with a maximum speed of 412 mph at 19,000 feet and a ceiling of 35,200 feet. range 510 miles. The Typhoon was armed with twelve browning .303inch machine guns in the wings (MK1A) Four 20mm Hispano cannon in wings (MK!B) Two 1000ilb bombs or eight 3-inch rockets under wings. The first proto type flew in February 1940, but due to production problems the first production model flew in May 1941. with The Royal Air Force receiving their first aircraft in September 1941. Due to accidents due to engine problems (Sabre engine) The Hawker Typhoon started front line service in December 1941.The Hawker Typhoon started life in the role of interceptor around the cost of England but soon found its real role as a ground attack aircraft. especially with its 20mm cannon and rockets. This role was proved during the Normandy landings and the period after. The total number of Hawker typhoons built was 3,330.|
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