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|Signatures on this item|
Flying Officer Frank Wheeler DFC (deceased)
|Frank Wheeler joined the RAF in 1941, training in England as a pilot after which he completed a period of instructing. In January 1944 he was posted to join 174 Typhoon Fighter Squadron at Westhampnett, his first operation being as an escort to the Mosquitos taking part in Operation Jericho, the Amiens Jailbreak. He stayed with 174 Squadron for the remainder of the War, serving throughout occupied Europe, and in 1945, at the end of his tour of operations, he was awarded the DFC. We have learned that Frank Wheeler sadly passed away in early 2013.|
|Flying Officer John Byrne||With the RAF since 1938, Byrne flew Hurricanes, Spitfires, P-47s, Tempests and Typhoons during WWII. Upon joining 197 Sqn in March 1944 he flew Typhoons during one the squadrons most hectic periods in the run up to D-Day and throughout the subsequent Allied invasion, mostly on low-level bombing missions. In total Byrne completed over 150 combat operations and finally left the RAF in 1946.|
Group Captain Alec Ingle (deceased)
|Alec Ingle was commissioned in June 1940 and joined 615 Squadron at Drem flying Hurricanes before moving to Croydon during the Battle of Britain. He probably destroyed a Do17 in September; in October he shot down an Me109 and probably two more, and yet another victory in November, at which time he was appointed B Flight Commander. He later commanded 609 Squadron at Manston before leading 124 Wing in 1943 flying Typhoons. He was shot down in September 1943 after his Typhoon blew up in combat with an Fw190. Badly burned, he spent the remainder of the war as a POW in Stalag Luft III. Alec Ingle was awarded the AFC and DFC. Sadly Alec Ingle died on 31st July 1999.|
Wing Commander Roland Bee Beamont CBE DSO DFC DL (deceased)
|One of World War IIs great characters, Bee flew Hurricanes with 87 Squadron, later leading a Tempest Wing. He had 8 victories plus a further 32 VIs destroyed. After the war he became a highly respected Chief Test Pilot.Wing Commander Roland Beamont, one of the RAFs top buzz bomb interceptors, was born in Enfield England on August 10, 1920. Educated at Eastborne College, Beamont accepted a short service commission with the Royal Air Force in 1938. He commenced flying in 1939 at the the No. 13 Reserve Flying School at White Waltham. His initial duty was with the Group Fighter Pool at St. Athan where he learned to fly the Hurricane. Beamont was soon posted with the No. 87 Squadron which was part of the Advanced Air Striking Force in France. Seeing action in both France and Belgium prior to the Allied withdrawl, Beamont rejoined 87 Squadron in England during the Battle of Britain. In the spring of 1941 Beamont was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after destroying five enemy aircraft. As Commanding Officer of 609 Squadron, Beamont pioneered both day and night ground attack missions utilizing the Typhoon. Beamont was credited with destroying 25 trains in a three month period. He was then made responsible for organizing and commanding the first Tempest Wing at Newchurch. Three days after D-Day Bearnont shot down an Me-109, marking the first aerial combat victory for the Hawker Tempest. In the summer of 1944 Beamont destroyed 32 buzz bombs prior to leading his wing to a Dutch Airfield at Volkel on the Continent. In October of 1944 Beamont was shot down during a ground attack mission over Germany, and he remained a prisoner of war until wars end. Following repatriation Beamont became an experimental test pilot with the Gloster Aircraft Company, which had developed the RAFs first jet aircraft. Turning down a permanent commission with the RAF, Beamont then joined English Electric Company in Wharton as the Chief Test Pilot for the B3/45 (Canberra) jet bomber program. He managed all prototype testing on the Canberra, and in the process set two Atlantic speed records. Later Beamont was involved with the supersonic P1/Lightning program, and became the first British pilot to fly at twice the speed of sound. From 1965 until 1970 he was a founding member of Britains highly succesful Saudi Arabian export program. For several years prior to his retirement in 1979, Beamont was Director of Operations for British Aerospace and Panavia where he was in charge of flight testing for the Tornado. Since his retirement Beamont has authored nine books, and published numerous magazine articles. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Scociety and an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in America. He died 19th November 2001.|
|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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