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|Signatures on this item|
Major Franz Kieslich (deceased)
|Franz Kieslich born in Bochum ion 12th March 1913 and served with 7./St.G. 77 in France in 1940, and later serving in Yugoslavia. Transferring to the Russian Front he was promoted Gruppenadjutant III./St.G. 77. And in October 1942 became Staffelkapitan 7./St.G. 77. In February 1944 he was promoted Kommandeur III./SG 77. He fought at Stalingrad, Kursk, Kiev and most of the other major engagements on the Eastern Front. In February1945 he became Kommodore erganzungs-SG148. Awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, he flew over 1000 combat missions, and had been shot down twenty times. His wards were awarded Ritterkreuz on 05.01.1943 as Oberleutnant and Staffelkapitän 7./StukaG 77 and ( 619 ). Eichenlaub on 10.10.1944 as Hauptmann and Kommandeur III./StukaG 77. He passed away on 31st August 2012.|
Squadron Leader Ginger Lacey DFM (deceased)
|James Harry Lacey, from Wetherby, who was destined to become the top scoring RAF fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain, joined the RAFVR. in 1937. After an instructors course in 1938 he became an instructor at the Yorkshire Aeroplane Club. Called up at the outbreak of war, he was posted to 501 Squadron, and in May 1940 was posted with the unit to France. On the 13th he set off late on an early patrol, and shot down a Bf 109 and a He 111. Later in the day he destroyed a Bf 110. On the 27th he destroyed two He 11 Is and then returned to the United Kingdom, in June, having made an emergency landing in a swamp on the 9th and overturned, nearly being drowned. On 20 July he shot down a 13f 109, and was then awarded a DFM. In the Battle of Britain, during August, he destroyed a Ju 87 and a probable on the 12th, damaged a Do 17 on the 15th, probably destroyed a Bf 109 on the 16th, and on the 24th shot down a Ju 88 and damaged a Do 17. On the 29th he destroyed a 13f 109 and next day claimed a He 111 and probablya Bf110. He shot down a Bf109 on the 31st and on 2 September got two Bf 109s and damaged a Do 17. Two days later he destroyed two more Bf 109s, and was then sent on leave for a few days. on his return, on the 13th, he took off in very bad weather to shoot down a lone He 111 which had just bombed Buckingham Palace. Having destroyed it, he found the cloud too thick to return to base and was forced to bale out. On the 15th he shot down another He 111 and two Bf 109s with a third damaged, on the 27th destroyed another Bf 109 and on the 30th damaged a Ju 88. During October he was in action frequently against Bf 109s, getting a probable on the 7th and destroying others on the 12th, 26th, and the 30th, damaging one also on this latter date. His score was now 23, and he had been shot down or forced to bale out nine times. Of his victories 18 were gained during the Battle of Britain, and this was the highest score of any pilot for this period. In December he received a Bar to his DFM and was commissioned the following month. He converted to Spitfires early in 1941, and in June became a flight commander. During July he destroyed a Bf 109 on the 10th, damaged one on the 14th, shot down a He 59 floatplane on the 17th and destroyed two more Bf 109s on the 24th, causing them to collide. He was then posted as an instructor to 57 OTU where he trained, among others, George Beurling. In March 1942 he was posted to 602 Squadron, and on 24th March damaged a Fw 190. On 25 April he damaged two more, but was then posted to HQ 81 Group as Tactics Officer, now as a Sqn. Ldr. He spent some while testing Hurricanes with rocket projectiles and 40 mm. anti-tank guns, and then became Chief Flying Instructor at Millfield. In March 1943 he was sent to India, and first was responsible for converting squadrons to Hurricanes at Madras. He then moved to Bangalore, where he converted Hurricane pilots to Thunderbolts. In September 1944 he was posted to 3 TAC at Komila as Sqn. Ldr. Tactics, and the following month attended an Air Fighting Instructors Course at Armarda Road, which was run by Wg. Cdr. F.R. Carey. In November he became temporary commanding officer of 155 Squadron, flying Spitfire 8s in Burma, but later that month took command of 17 Squadron, equipped with the same aircraft. His squadron was responsible for giving ground support to a Gurkha regiment, so he ordered his pilots to have their heads shaved in the Gurkha fashion, which proved to be a very popular move. On 19 February 1945 he shot down a Nakajima Ki 43 Oscar, his twenty-eighth and last victory. He died on 30th May 1989.|
Wing Commander Christopher Bunny Currant DSO DFC (deceased)
|Born 14th December 1911. One of the most succesful fighter pilots in the RAF, credited with 13 kills during the Battle of Britain. On 15th August 1940, with No. 605 Sqn, he downed two He111s and claimed a third probable. On 8th September he downed another bomber and damaged three more, sharing in two more the next day, downing two more and damaging a further three on the 15th of that month, before being shot down himself. The same afternoon, he got airborne again, shooting down a fighter. After the Battle of Britain, he became an instructor, before rejoining combat flying with No.501 Sqn. In August 1942 he took command of No. 122 Wing, leading them until the D-Day landings in June 1944 before taking a non-flying post until the end of the war. He died 12th March 2006.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Hurricane||Royal Air Force Fighter, the Hawker Hurricane had a top speed of 320mph, at 18,200 feet and 340mph at 17,500, ceiling of 34,200 and a range of 935 miles. The Hurricane was armed with eight fixed wing mounted .303 browning machine guns in the Mark I and twelve .303 browning's in the MKIIB in the Hurricane MKIIC it had four 20mm cannon. All time classic fighter the Hurricane was designed in 1933-1934, the first prototype flew in June 1936 and a contract for 600 for the Royal Air Force was placed. The first production model flew ion the 12th October 1937 and 111 squadron of the Royal Air Force received the first Hurricanes in January 1938. By the outbreak of World war two the Royal Air Force had 18 operational squadrons of Hurricanes. During the Battle of Britain a total of 1715 Hurricanes took part, (which was more than the rest of the aircraft of the Royal air force put together) and almost 75% of the Victories during the Battle of Britain went to hurricane pilots. The Hawker Hurricane was used in all theatres during World war two, and in many roles. in total 14,533 Hurricanes were built.|
|Ju87||By 1935 the German Luftwaffe was developing its first monoplane divebomber which entered production in 1936 as the Ju87 Stuka. The Stuka was to evolve into arguably the most successful single engine Axis divebomber of WW II. Utilizing a nearly vertical dive position the Stuka was stunningly accurate in the days when horizontal bombing was a relatively inaccurate science. The Ju87 was built for functionality and ruggedness. A fixed landing gear and exceptionally strong wing design were incorporated and no attempt was made to minimize protrusions. The Stuka was not designed for speed; it was an aerodynamic nightmare. The Stuka also incorporated a siren which when activated during a dive was designed to inflict psychological damage on the enemy below. The Ju87 was used with tremendous success in the Blitzkrieg attacks on Norway, Poland, Belgium, France, Holland, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Virtually unchallenged in the air during these Blitzkriegs the Stukas took a devastating toll on Allied ground and mechanized forces. Shipping was also vulnerable to the pinpoint attacks of the Stuka, and the Ju87 destroyed more Allied shipping than all other German aircraft put together during WW II. During Hitlers air attacks on Britain the Stukas reputation for invulnerability was shattered. Facing British Hurricanes and Spitfires the slower and less maneuverable Ju87s were destroyed in large numbers, eventually forcing their withdrawal from that conflict. Germanys attempt to develop an improved twin engine divebomber resulted in the introduction of the Messerschmitt 210 which was an unmitigated disaster. As a result, the Stuka remained in production longer than expected and the aircraft played a major role in Germanys surprise attack on Russia. In the first day of combat alone Stukas were credited with the destruction of over 700 Russian aircraft with minimal losses. One of Germanys top aces of WW II was Hans-Ulrich Rudel. Rudel flew over 2,500 combat missions in Ju87s, and was shot down on twelve occasions. Rudel was credited with destroying 519 tanks, 800 vehicles, 150 artillery pieces, one Russian battleship, one cruiser and one destroyer. Rudel was also credited with shooting down nine Russian aircraft in air-to-air combat.|
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