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|Extra Details : Defence of the Realm by Adrian Rigby.|
|Signatures on this item|
Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC (deceased)
|At the outbreak of war Paddy flew obsolete Hinds, Hectors and Lysanders in combat, but converted to Spitfires and joined 602 Squadron at Tangmere. During the Battle of Britain he flew with some of the great aces - Douglas Bader, Sailor Malan, and Bob Stanford Tuck. In 1941 he was a Flight Commander with 610 Squadron. Continuing to fly Spitfires, now with 122 Squadron based at Hornchurch, he flew fighter sweeps and escort missions. On 17th May 1942 he was shot down over St Omer. He baled out but was captured, spending the next three years as a POW. One of the RAFs best known and best loved characters, though the bane of certain senior officers, Paddy Barthropps RAF service spanned the period from bi-planes to supersonic jets. Joining the RAF in 1938, his first squadron was 613 flying Hinds, Hectors and Lysanders. In 1940 he was released to fly Spitfires with 602 Squadron where he shared in the destruction of two aircraft. He was posted to 610 Squadron, and then to 91 Squadron, shooting down two Bf 109s during summer 1941 and receiving the DFC. In August 1941 he returned to 610 Squadron as a flight commander. He was shot down three times, the third time being taken prisoner ofwar. He had by then brought his total to 9. Scraps in the air were accompanied by scrapes on the ground, and appearances in Magistrates Courts for disorderly conduct. Addicted to fast cars and lively ladies - and the sworn enemy of stuffed shirts everywhere - he was the irrepressible life and soul of any party, and a persistant thorn in the side of overweening authority as the Germans were to discover. The war over, he was posted to the Empire Test Pilots School where he flew over a hundred different types of plane in ten months. Soon, he was out in the Sudan and in serious trouble again - under arrest after taking a hippo to an upper-crust party. As a boy, he had been taught to ride by champion jockey Steve Donaghue and now, posted to Hong Kong, he rode winners on the track at Happy Valley, and seriously thought of turning professional. Then it was back to the U.K. to take up an appointment as a Fighter Station Commander, and to lead the Coronation fly-past over Buckingham Palace. He left the RAF to set up his own luxury car-hire firm. He died on 16th April 2008.|
|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.|
|Me109||Willy Messerschmitt designed the BF109 during the early 1930s. The Bf109 was one of the first all metal monocoque construction fighters with a closed canopy and retractable undercarriage. The engine of the Me109 was a V12 aero engine which was liquid-cooled. The Bf109 first saw operational service during the Spanish Civil War and flew to the end of World War II, during which time it was the backbone of the Luftwaffe fighter squadrons. During the Battle of Britian the Bf109 was used in the role of an escort fighter, a role for which it was not designed for, and it was also used as a fighter bomber. During the last days of May 1940 Robert Stanford-Tuck, the RAF ace, got the chance to fly an Me109 which they had rebuilt after it had crash landed. Stanford-Tuck found out that the Me109 was a wonderful little plane, it was slightly faster than the Spitfire, but lacked the Spitfire manoeuvrability. By testing the Me109, Tuck could put himself inside the Me109 when fighting them, knowing its weak and strong points. With the introduction of the improved Bf109F in the spring of 1941, the type again proved to be an effective fighter during the invasion of Yugoslavia and during the Battle of Crete and the invasion of Russia and it was used during the Siege of the Mediteranean island of Malta. The Bf109 was the main fighter for the Luftwaffe until 1942 when the Fw190 entered service and shared this position, and was partially replaced in Western Europe, but the Me109 continued to serve on the Eastern Front and during the defence of the Reich against the allied bombers. It was also used to good effect in the Mediterranean and North Africa in support of The Africa Korps. The Me109 was also supplied to several German allies, including Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovakia. The Bf109 scored more kills than any other fighter of any country during the war and was built in greater numbers with a total of over 31,000 aircraft being built. The Bf109 was flown by the three top German aces of the war war. Erich Hartmann with 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories and Gunther Rall with 275 kills. Bf109 pilots were credited with the destruction of 100 or more enemy aircraft. Thirteen Luftwaffe Aces scored more than 200 kills. Altogether this group of pilots were credited with a total of nearly 15,000 kills, of which the Messerschmitt Bf109 was credited with over 10,000 of these victories. The Bf109 was the most produced warplane during World War II, with 30,573 examples built during the war, and the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced up to April 1945. Bf109s remained in foreign service for many years after World War II. The Swiss used their Bf109Gs well into the 1950s. The Finnish Air Force did not retire their Bf109Gs until March 1954. Romania used its Bf109s until 1955. The Spanish Hispanos flew even longer. Some were still in service in the late 1960s.|
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