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No.610 Sqn RAF

Founded : 10th February 1936
Country : UK
Fate : Disbanded 10th March 1957
Known Aircraft Codes : DW, JE

County of Chester (Auxiliary)

Alifero tollitur axe ceres - Ceres rising in a winged car

610 squadron was formed AT Hooton Park, Wirral in Cheshire on 10 February 1936 as one of the Auxiliary Air Force squadrons equipped with the light bomber the Hawker Hart. In May 1938 610 Squadron aircraft were upgraded to the new Hawker Hind. On 1 January 1939 the squadron role was changed into that of a fighter squadron, and on the outbreak of war in September 1939, he Squadron began receiving the new Hawker Hurricane. By the end of that same month it was flying the Supermarine Spitfire. During the Battle of Britain 610 Squadron was attached to No. 3 Group and was initially based at RAF Gravesend but moved to Biggin Hill before the German offensive began and was one of the units bearing the brunt of German attacks. It moved to RAF Acklington for the rest and recuperation at the end of August, having sustained severe casualties. During the Battle of Britain the squadron included Pilot Officer, later Squadron Leader, Constantine Pegge. In 1941, the squadron moved south to RAF Tangmere where it became part of the Tangmere wing, a three squadron wing under the command of Douglas Bader. 610 Squadron remained based in the UK until 1945, when it moved to the continent to provide fighter cover as the allies entered Germany. 610 Squadron was disbanded before the end of the war at RAF Warmwell in March 1945.

No.610 Sqn RAF


Latest No.610 Sqn RAF Artwork Releases !
 Spitfire P9433 DW-E of  No.610 flown by P/O Pegge, in which he shot down two Bf.109Es on 12th August 1940.

Tribute to Pilot Officer Pegge of No.610 Squadron by Ivan Berryman.
 F/Lt Warner was shot down in combat with Bf 109s on 16th August 1940 at 17:15hrs off Dungeness.  He was flying Spitfire DW-Z (R6802).

Tribute to Flight Lieutenant Warner of No.610 Sqn by Ivan Berryman. (P)
 Spitfire DW-U (W3455) of 610 Squadron escorting Blenheims to Le Trait on 21st August 1941.  This aircraft was shot down by enemy fighters on this mission.

Escorting Blenheims to Le Trait - Spitfire W3455 of No.610 Squadron by Ivan Berryman. (P)
 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1As of No.610 (County of Chester) Sqn RAAF, intercept incoming Heinkel 111H-16s of the 9th Staffel, Kampfgeschwader 53 Legion Condor during the big daylight raids on London of August and September 1940 - the climax of the Battle of Britain.  Spitfire N3029 (DW-K) was shot down by a Bf109 on the 5th of September 1940 and crash-landed near Gravesend, Kent, thankfully without injury to Sgt Willcocks, the pilot.  For the record, N3029 was rebuilt and, following some brief flying in the UK, was sent overseas by convoy to the Middle East.  Ironically, the ship carrying this aircraft was torpedoed en route and both ship and all its cargo were lost.

Close Encounter by Ivan Berryman. (PC)

No.610 Sqn RAF Artwork Collection
Click the images below to view the fantastic artwork we have available to purchase!



Close Encounter by Ivan Berryman.


P.O. Constantine Pegge, 610 Sqn, August 1940 by Graeme Lothian. (P)


Time to Leave by Ivan Berryman.


A Dunkirk Encounter by Ivan Berryman.


Kerrs Last Combat by Ivan Berryman.


The Battle for the Skies Over Dieppe, 19th August 1942 by Graeme Lothian.


Return of the Heroes by Ivan Berryman.


Close Call by Robert Taylor.


The Battle for Britain by Robert Taylor.

Coastal Patrol by Richard Taylor.


Their Finest Hour by Nicolas Trudgian.


Top Cover by Robert Taylor.


Tribute to No.610 Sqn by Ivan Berryman.


Escorting Blenheims to Le Trait - Spitfire W3455 of No.610 Squadron by Ivan Berryman. (P)


Tribute to Flight Lieutenant Warner of No.610 Sqn by Ivan Berryman. (P)


Tribute to Pilot Officer Pegge of No.610 Squadron by Ivan Berryman.

Chariots of Fire by Gerald Coulson.

Aces for : No.610 Sqn RAF
A list of all Aces from our database who are known to have flown with this squadron. A profile page is available by clicking the pilots name.
NameVictoriesInfo
James E Johnnie Johnson36.91The signature of James E Johnnie Johnson features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.
Tony Gaze12.50The signature of Tony Gaze features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.
Hugh Spencer Leslie Dundas11.00The signature of Hugh Spencer Leslie Dundas features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.
Dennis Crowley-Milling8.00The signature of Dennis Crowley-Milling features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.
Aircraft for : No.610 Sqn RAF
A list of all aircraft known to have been flown by No.610 Sqn RAF. A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.
SquadronInfo

Hart



Click the name above to see prints featuring Hart aircraft.

Manufacturer : Hawker
Production Began : 1930
Number Built : 1042

Hart

During the mid 1920’s The British Air Ministry recoignised the need for a light Bomber. The options were proposed the Avro Antelope, Fairey Fox and the Hawker Hart. Due to the low cost of maintenance for the hawker hart. It was chosen over the other two. The first prototype flew in June 1928 (J9052). Hawker Harts were first used in 1930 by No.33 Squadron at Eastchurch. Many of these aircraft were used overseas in India, the Middle East and South Africa, with some alterations being made to tropicalise the aircraft. With the Outcome being the Hart India. The Hawker Hart saw service during the Abyssinian Crisis in 1935/36 and served also in the North West Frontier of India. However, in Britain, most were being replaced by 1936, some still operating well into World War Two. Mainly in communication and Training roles until 1943 having been used by a total of 20 RAF and AAF Squadrons. A total of 1042 of this aircraft were built. The Hawker Hart saw service with many air forces. Including The Swedish Air Force who used it to great success as a dive bomber. (calling the Hart the B4), Egyptian Air Force, Royal Indian Air Force, Southern Rhodesian Air Force and Yugoslavian air force.

Hind

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Manufacturer : Hawker
Production Began : 1935

Hind

The Hawker Hind entered service with the Royal Air Force in November1935 and eventually 20 RAF bomber squadrons equipped with Hawker Hinds. Many Hinds were also sold to foreign customers including Afghanistan, the Irish Free State, Latvia, Persia (Iran), Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia. The Hawker Hind was gradually phased out of frontline service from 1936 onwards and replaced by the Fairey Battle and Bristol Blenheim. At the outbreak of world war two only 613 squadorn was still equipped with Hawker Hinds in the roll of Army co-operation before re-equipping the Hawker Hector in November 1939. The Hawker Hind became a training aircraft from 1938 being the next step up from basic training on Tiger Moths. In 1941, Hinds flew combat missions in their original role as light bombers. South African Hinds were employed against Italian forces in Kenya, Yugoslav Hinds were used against the Germans and Italians.

Hurricane



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Manufacturer : Hawker
Production Began : 1936
Number Built : 14533

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.

Meteor

Click the name above to see prints featuring Meteor aircraft.

Manufacturer : Gloster
Production Began : 1944
Number Built : 3947

Meteor

The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. Designed by George Carter, and built by the Gloster Aircraft Company, Armstrong-Whitworth, the Meteor first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Gloster Meteor was not an aerodynamically advanced aircraft but the Gloster design team succeeded in producing an effective jet fighter that served the RAF and other air forces for decades. Meteors saw action with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in the Korean War and other air forces used the Meteor. The Royal Danish Air Force, The Belgian Air Force and Isreali Air Force kept the Meteor in service until the early 1970's. A Total of 3947 meteors were built and two Meteors, WL419 and WA638, remain in service with the Martin-Baker company as ejection seat testbeds.

Spitfire



Click the name above to see prints featuring Spitfire aircraft.

Manufacturer : Supermarine
Production Began : 1936
Retired : 1948
Number Built : 20351

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.
Signatures for : No.610 Sqn RAF
A list of all signatures from our database who are associated with this squadron. A profile page is available by clicking their name.
NameInfo


Squadron Leader Cyril Bam Bamberger
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Squadron Leader Cyril Bam Bamberger

3 / 2 / 2008Died : 3 / 2 / 2008
Squadron Leader Cyril Bam Bamberger

Born in Port Sunlight on May 4th 1919, Cyril Bamberger won an electrical engineering apprenticeship at Lever Brothers in 1934. He joined 610 Squadron AuxAF, in 1936 on the ground staff. Accepted for pilot training with the RAF VR in late 1938, he soloed in mid 1939. Bamberger was called up at the outbreak of war and on the 23rd October 1939 was posted to No 8 EFTS, Woodley and later went to 9 FTS, Hullavington to complete his training. He rejoined 610 (F) Squadron at Biggin Hill on July 27th but with no experience on Spitfires, he was sent to Hawarden for three weeks. Back with 610 (F) Squadron, Bamberger claimed a probable Bf109 on August 28th 1940. He was posted to 41 (F) Squadron at Hornchurch, Essex, September 17th and on October 5th he claimed a Bf109 destroyed. After volunteering for Malta, Bamberger left 41 (F) Squadron in mid-October 1940. He sailed from Glasgow on the Aircraft Carrier HMS Argus. Luckily for him, he did not fly off for Malta with the twelve Hurricanes ad two navigating Skuas which did. Only five of the fourteen aircraft reached their destination. Bamberger eventually reached Malta on November 28th on the destroyer HMS Hotspur, and on arrival he joined 261 Squadron. On January 18th 1941 he destroyed a Junkers JU87 Stuka and another the following day. 261 Squadron was dispended on May 21st 1941. Bamberger moved on the 12th to the newly formed 185 (F) Squadron at Hal Far. He was posted back to England on June 12th and was sent to Central Gunnery School at Sutton Bridge. Commissioned in February 1942, he was posted to Northern Ireland as a Gunnery Officer with the Americans who were converting to Spitfires. In March 1943 Bamberger volunteered for North Africa where he joined 93 Squadron at Hal Far, Malta in May. On July 13th operating over Sicily, he shot down a Junkers JU87 Stuka. In August Bamberger joined 243 Squadron in Sicily as a Flight Commander. He was awarded the DFC (28.09.43). On October 16th Bamberger damaged a Bf109, his first success after 243 crossed into Italy. On May 25th 1944 he claimed a Bf109 destroyed and on June 15th a Macci 202 damaged. Bamberger came off operations in July for medical reasons returning to the UK. He was sent on an instructors course and in early 1945 was posted to the Gunnery School at Catfoss. Awarded a bar to his DFC (14.11.44). Bamberger received it from the King at Buckingham Palace on July 3rd 1945. Released in 1946, Bamberger returned to Lever Brothers and rejoined 610 Squadron at Hooten Park, becoming its CO in 1950. When the Korean crisis came, he was recalled to the RAF. In February 1951 he was granted a permanent commission and in May 1952 moved to an Intelligence Unit, assessing strike capabilities of the Chinese and Koreans. Bamberger retired on January 29th 1959 as a Squadron Leader, and became managing director of a small packaging materials company – he started in 1954. On retirement he had an antique shop in Hampshire. Sadly, Cyril Bamberger passed away on 3rd February 2008.




Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC

16 / 4 / 2008Died : 16 / 4 / 2008
Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp DFC AFC

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.

Paddy Barthropp with Archie Winskill, signing prints of - Fighting Lady - by Graeme Lothian. In the background are the original paintings Fighting Lady and Fighter General, both by Graeme Lothian.

Paddy Barthropp signing the print - Defence of the Realm - by Adrian Rigby.



Squadron Leader Robert Beardsley DFC
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Squadron Leader Robert Beardsley DFC

An RAFVR pilot, joining 610 Squadron at Biggin Hill at the peak of the Battle of Britain, in August 1940, Beardsley had three confirmed victories before the end of the Battle. Posted to 41 Squadron, Beardsley spent months with the Tangmere Wing in 1941, remembering Bader for his determination to operate the wing on every possible occasion and his calmness of the radio which compared favourably with some other Wing Leaders. Commissioned in June 1941, Beardsley remained with 41 Squadron until November. After a period instructing, he went to North Africa with 93 Squadron, covering the Allied invasion. After D-Day he went to France with 222 Squadron on Spitfires. Beardsley left the RAF in 1945 but rejoined in 1949, flying Meteors with 74 Squadron.



Flight Lieutenant Bernard W Brown
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Flight Lieutenant Bernard W Brown

Flight Lieutenant Bernard Walter Brown was accepted for a short service commission in 1938, and after being accepted arrived in England in September, training at 5 E&RFTS, Hanworth and in late January 1939 he was posted to 5FTS, Sealand. He then went to No 1 School of Army Co-Operation at Old Sarum for a course on Lysanders in August 1939, and soon after joined 613 Squadron. Bernard Walker Brown was flying one of six Hectors detailed to dive-bomb gun emplacements near Calais. On the way to the target, he test-fired his forward gun but a fault caused the muzzle attachment to fly off, penetrate the fuselage and hole the main fuel tank. He jettisoned his bombs and turned back and make a forced-landing. In August 1940 he volunteered for Fighter Command, converting to Spitfires. He joined 610 Squadron at Biggin Hill. In late September he went to 72 Squadron, but on the 23rd was shot down by a Bf 109. He bailed out of the aircraft, badly wounded. Returning to active duty in November 1940, he was posted to 8FTS, Montrose for an instructor's course, after which he went to Rhodesia, subsequently instructing at Cumalo. In 1943, he trained with Transport Command, becoming a ferry pilot. He flew between the United Kingdom and the Middle East. He transferred to the RNZAF in January 1944 and by the end of the year was flying Halifaxes. He was released in 1945 to fly Dakotas with BOAC and later joined BEA, flying with the airline until his retirement in 1972.



Flight Lieutenant William J. Corbin DFC
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8 / 12 / 2012Died : 8 / 12 / 2012
Flight Lieutenant William J. Corbin DFC

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.




Air Marshal Sir Denis Crowley-Milling KCB, CBE, DSO, DFC, AE
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Air Marshal Sir Denis Crowley-Milling KCB, CBE, DSO, DFC, AE

1996Died : 1996
1996Ace : 8.00 Victories
Air Marshal Sir Denis Crowley-Milling KCB, CBE, DSO, DFC, AE

He joined the RAFVR in 1937 as a Sgt, joining 615 squadron in France. During the Battle of Britain he was posted to 242 squadron and after winning a DFC joined 610 squadron as a Flight Commander in 1942. But, on 21st August he was shot down over France, evading capture and with the help of the resistance reached Spain, where he was interned for three months. After reaching England he rejoined 610 squadron and in 1942 was awarded his second DFC for operation on Typhoons. In 1943 he went to the USAAF Headquarters in England co-ordinating fighter operations with US heavy bomber raids. After the war he stayed in the R.A.F. and had a very successful career, rising to the rank Air Marshal. He died in late 1996.

Dennis Crowley-Milling signing the print - Fighting Lady - by Graeme Lothian



Warrant Officer David Denchfield
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5 / 12 / 2012Died : 5 / 12 / 2012
Warrant Officer David Denchfield

Called up in 1939 he converted to Spitfires and joined 610 Squadron at Acklington in the Battle of Britain. On a Blenheim escort to St Omer in February 1941 his aircraft was hit and, having baled out at 5,000 feet, he was captured by the Germans. He spent time in several POW camps, including Stalg Luft III, and at the end of the war in May 1945 flew back to the UK in a Lancaster of 617 Squadron. Sadly he passed away on 5th December 2012.



Flight Lieutenant Nigel Drever
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Flight Lieutenant Nigel Drever

Joining the RAF on a short service commission in May 1939, he was sent to 98 Sqn upon completion of his training. At the height of the Battle of Britain in September 1940 he then joined 610 Sqn on Spitfires before later being shot down over France in 1942 and spending time as a PoW in several camps including Stalag Luft III.




Group Captain Sir Hugh Dundas CBE DSO DFC DI
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Group Captain Sir Hugh Dundas CBE DSO DFC DI

10 / 7 / 1995Died : 10 / 7 / 1995
10 / 7 / 1995Ace : 11.00 Victories
Group Captain Sir Hugh Dundas CBE DSO DFC DI

Hugh Dundas was born on the 2nd of July 1920 in Doncaster. Hugh Dundas, like his elder brother John, became fascinated by the idea of flying from childhood, and straight after leaving Stowe School in 1938 joined the Auxiliary Air Force. As a pre-war member of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, Hugh Dundas was called up early in the war, serving with 616 Squadron. After a promising start as a fighter pilot, Dundas was shot down on 22nd August and wounded during the Battle of Britian, but returned to his squadron in September 1940. His brother John, a 12 victory ace with No.609 Squadron, was killed in action in November 1940 after shooting down the top–scoring German Luftwaffe ace at the time, Helmut Wick. In early 1941 he was at Tangmere and came under the command of Wing Commander Douglas Bader. Dundas became one of the leading members of that Wing and frequently flew with Bader, gradually building his reputation as a fighter pilot and tactician. After receiving the DFC, Dundas became Flight Commander in 610 Squadron. December 1941 brought another promotion as commanding officer of 56 Squadron, the first in the RAF to be converted to Typhoons. Posted to the Mediterranean in 1943, he led 244 Spitfire Wing from Malta and later Italy. In 1944, Dundas was awarded the DSO and became one of the youngest Group Captains in the RAF. For some years after the war, Dundas served once more with the RAuxAF during which time he became CO of 601 Squadron. His war time score was 4 destroyed, 6 shared destroyed, 2 shared probables, and 2 and 1 shared damaged. After the war had ended Dundas served with the RAuxAF as CO of No.601 Squadron and was the air correspondent for the Daily Express newspaper. In 1961 he joined Rediffusion ltd becoming a Director in 1966, and Chairman of Thames Television unitl 1987, when he was knighted. In 1989 he served as High Sheriff of Surrey. Sir Hugh Dundas died on 10th July 1995 at the age of 74.



Tony Gaze DFC**
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Tony Gaze DFC**
10 / 7 / 1995Ace : 12.50 Victories
Tony Gaze DFC**

Australian Tony Gaze joined Bader at Tangmere in March 1941 flying with 610 Sqn, scoring several victories during the high summer of that famous year. In 1942 he was posted to 610 Sqn and then commanded 64 Sqn. In Sept 1943 he joined 66 Sqn but was shot down. Evading capture he escaped back to England. In July 1944 he flew again with 610 Sqn then 41 Sqn. In the final days of the war he flew meteor jets with 616 Sqn. Tony gaze finished the war an Ace with 11 and 3 shared destroyed, 4 probable and one V. He was awarded the DFC with 2 bars.




Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson CB, CBE, DSO**, DFC*
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson CB, CBE, DSO**, DFC*

2001Died : 2001
2001Ace : 36.91 Victories
Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson CB, CBE, DSO**, DFC*

James Edgar Johnson was born in Barrow on Soar near Loughborough on 9th March 1915. He lived in Melton, the first house on the left of Welby Lane as you leave Nottingham Road, with his parents - his father being a local Police Inspector. Johnnie qualified as a Civil Engineer at Nottingham University in 1937. He joined the RAFVR and did his flying training at 21 E&RFTS, Stapleford before enlisting for full-time service in the RAF at the beginning of WWII. He first went to ITW at Jesus College, Cambridge, completed his ab initio flying at 22 EFTS, Cambridge and his intermediate and advanced flying at 5 FTS, Sealand. Johnnie Johnson joined 92 Spitfire squadron in August 1940, but it was with 616 squadron that he scored his first victory on June 26th 1941 while flying with Douglas Baders Tangmere Wing. He was squadron leader of 610 squadron in July 1942, but it was as Wing Commander of the Kenley Wing in 1943 that his scores really started to mount. He was W/C of 144 wing during D-Day and led 127 and 125 wings until the end of the war when we has the topscoring allied fighter pilot with 38 air victories. Inspired by the great British WW 1 aces like Bishop and Ball, Johnnie Johnson dreamed often as a child of becoming an R.A.F. pilot. The young Johnson enthusiastically joined the Volunteer Reserve at the first opportunity. After completing his initial flight training Johnson was posted to 616 Squadron at Kenley. However, this Squadron had been hit hard with the loss of six pilots and five wounded, and the unit was withdrawn to Coltishall prior to Johnson encountering combat. With only 12 hours of flight time in a Spitfire this was no doubt advantageous. In February 1941 Billy Burton moved the Squadron to Tangmere. Douglas Bader then arrived to take over the Tangmere Wing, and fly with the 616 Squadron. Johnnie, Alan Smith and Cocky Dundas were chosen to fly with Bader. During the summer of 1941 the Battle of Britain was at its peak. Bader took the time to instruct Johnson carefully in both the art of flying and the skills necessary to attain success in aerial combat. Baders idea of an afternoon off duty, according to Johnson, was to take his section over the Channel in hopes of running into Adolph Galland and his Abbeyville Boys. On August 19, 1941 Bader failed to return from a mission when 616 Squadron was hit hard by a group of Messerschmitt 109s. Johnson flew on in Baders absence, and in the summer of 1942 he was promoted to command of the 610 Squadron. In 1943 he was promoted again to Wing Commander of the Canadian Spitfire Wing in Kenley. By that time Johnson had attained eight confirmed victories. During the spring and summer of 1943 Johnnie led the Canadian unit on more than 140 missions over Northwest Europe. Johnsons squadron attained more than 100 victories during this period, and Johnnies own personal score rose to 25. After a short leave, Johnson was posted to lead the 144 Canadian Spitfire Wing. On D-Day Johnson led his Wing on four missions in support of the Allied invasion. On June 8, Johnsons Wing was the first Spitfire group to land in newly liberated France. Johnson continued fighting in France through September 1944 when he achieved his 38th and final victory. Patrolling the Rhine Johnsons unit jumped nine 109s which were flying beneath them in the opposite direction. Five of the 109s were downed. Early in 1945 Johnson was promoted to Group Captain and put in command of the 125 Wing, which was equipped with the Spitfire XIV. Flying from former Luftwaffe airfields the 125 Wing assisted in the final Allied push to Berlin. Johnson attributed much of his aerial combat success to his ability to make tight turning maneuvers. Johnsons tightest call came on August 19, 1942 when he was unable to dislodge an Me-109 from his tail during the raid on Diepppe. Johnson raced his Spitfire flat out at a group of Royal Navy ships. The usual barrage of flak and tracer fire came right at him, and fortunately for the ace, missed his Spitfire but effectively eliminated the brave pilot on his tail. During the Korean War Johnson flew fighter-bombers with the USAF. Following his retirement from the R.A.F. in 1966 Johnson founded the Johnnie Johnson Housing Trust that has provided homes for more than 4000 disabled and elderly persons, and his sixth book Winged Victory was published in 1995. Johnson flew many of the Spitfire models. His favorite was the beautiful Mark IX, the best of them all. Johnnie passed away in 2001 at the age of 85, in Derbyshire, England.

Artist Graeme Lothian with Johnnie Johnson.




Flight Lieutenant Ian MacLennan DFM
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Flight Lieutenant Ian MacLennan DFM

Canadian Ian Maclennan joined the RCAF in October 1940, arriving in England in August 1941. He joined 610 Squadron in February 1942, then 401 Sqn, where he destroyed an Fw190. Posted to Malta, he flew his Spitfire off HMS Eagle on 9th June, and shortly after transferred to 1435 Flight. On Malta he claimed 7 victories and was awarded the DFM. He was commissioned, becoming a flight commander in November. In December he returned to England. In February 1944 he joined 433 Squadron as a flight commander. On 7th June he was hit by ground fire whilst covering the Normandy beaches, crash landed, and was taken POW.



Warrant Officer Norman Samuels
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Warrant Officer Norman Samuels

Initially flying Typhoons with 193 Sqn, Norman then transferred to 610 Sqn flying Spitfires on fighter sweeps over France, heavy-bomber missions, and operations against VIs. Returning to ground attack Typhoons over Europe with 193 Sqn, he was shot down in March 1945 and taken prisoner of war.



Flight Lieutenant Sir Alan Smith DFC
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Flight Lieutenant Sir Alan Smith DFC

An RAFVR pilot Alan Smith completed his conversion to Spitfires and was posted to 610 Squadron in October 1940. and then to 616 Squadron in December 1940, Alan Smith often flew as wingman to Douglas Bader and would have been flying in that position on the fateful August 9th had he not been suffering from a head cold and instead set off for London to buy a uniform to match his newly granted commission. Johnnie Johnson described him as the perfect No 2. He usually flew in the same section with Bader, Cocky Dundas and Johnson. Alan Smith was impressed not only by Baders ability to inspire his pilots, but also his willingness to protect them. He remembers the RAF police pouncing on the squadron to see if anyone was using aviation fuel in their cars and how Bader sent them packing in no uncertain terms! In November 1941 Alan Smith was posted to a training role but returned to operations in November 1942 in North Africa. After completing this tour he returned to instructing latterly in the USA. By the end of the war Smith had been awarded the DFC and Bar and had recorded five confirmed victories. After the war he had a very successful career in the textile industry.



Flight Lieutenant Peter Ward-Smith
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Peter Ward-Smith
Flight Lieutenant Peter Ward-Smith

An Insurance Broker at Lloyds before the war, Peter Ward-Smith was an RAVR pilot who Joined 610 Squadron in August 1940. Although he had little personal contact with Bader, he was impressed with his leadership in the air. Commissioned in June 1941, Ward-Smith was shot down soon afterwards on a sweep over Northern France. He baled out and was captured. He was held in camps in Poland and at StalagLuft 111 at Sagan and Belaria. He was liberated by the British Army in 1945.


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