No.56 Sqn RAF
Founded : 9th June 1916
Quid si coelum ruat - What if heaven falls
56 Squadron was formed on 8th June 1916 and in April 1917 was posted to France as part of the Royal Flying Corps. 56 squadron was equipped with the new SE5 fighter. One of the major aerial combats of the squadron was the shooting down of Lt Werner Voss. By the end of the first world war 56 Squadron had scored 402 victories, and many famous fighter aces flew with 56 Squadron including James McCudden, Reginald Hoidge, Gerald Maxwell, Arthur Rhys-Davies, Geoffrey Hilton Bowman, Richard Mayberry, Leonard Monteagle Barlow, Cyril Crowe, Maurice Mealing, Albert Ball, Harold Walkerdine, William Roy Irwin, Eric Broadberry, Kenneth William Junor, Cecil Leiws, Keith Muspratt, Duncan Grinnell-Milne, William Spurret Fielding-Johnson, William Otway Boger, Charles Jeffs, and Harold Molyneux. The squadron lost 40 pilots during the first world war with another twenty wounded and thirty one taken prisoner. When world war two broke out on the 6th of September 1939, 56 Squadron was based at North Weald. 56 Squadron flew Hurricanes during the Battle of France and during the Battle of Britain. 56 Squadron claimed just over 100 enenmy aircraft shot down during 1940. In 1941 as part of the Duxford Wing it was the first squadron to be equipped with the new Hawker Typhoon and during 1942 and 1943 was based ay RAF Matlaske as part of No.12 Group. No 56 Squadron was the frist squadron to confirm a victory while flying the Hawker Typhoon. In 1944 56 Squadron moved to RAF Newchurch and was re equipped with the new Hawker Tempest V, becoming part of the No.150 Wing under the command of the Ace Wing Commander Roland Beamont. 56 Squadron's new role was to defend Britian against the V1 flying bombs, and the squadron shot down around 75 V1s. The squadron moved to Europe on the 28th of September 1944 to Grimbergen in Belgium as part fo 122 Wing of the Second Tactical Air Force. During this period to the end of the war 56 Squadron became joint top scorers with a total of 149 aircraft cliamed. Over its history the squadron flew, SE5's Sopwith Snipes, Gloster Grebes, Armstrong Whitworth Siskins, Bristol Bulldogs, Gloster Gauntlets, Gloster Gladiators, Harker Hurricanes, Hawker Typhoon, and Hawker Tempests. Battle of Honours of the Squadron are : Western front 1917 - 1918 , Arras, Ypres 1917, Cambrai 1917, Soome 1918, Amiens, Hindenburg Line. During World war two : France and the Low Countries 1940, Battle of Britian, Fortress Europe 1942 - 1944, Dieppe, France, Germany 1944 - 1945, Home Defence 1942 - 1945 and Arnhem.
No.56 Sqn RAF
No.56 Sqn RAF Artwork Collection
McCudden, VC by Ivan Berryman.
Normandy Beach Head Patrol by Geoff Lea.
Last Dogfight of Werner Voss by Ivan Berryman.
James McCudden by Ivan Berryman.
Oberleutnant Lothar Freiherr von Richthofen by Ivan Berryman.
Lightning Tribute by Stephen Brown.
Glorious Summer by Robert Taylor
Blackpool Showtime by Robert Tomlin.
Cruising by Robert Tomlin.
Brief Encounter by Gerald Coulson.
Magnificent Courage by Stan Stokes.
|Aces for : No.56 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.|
|Geoffrey Hilton Bowman||32.00|
|Reginald T C Hoidge||27.00|
|Richard A Mayberry||25.00|
|Arthur P F Rhys-Davies||23.00|
|Gerald J C Maxwell||21.00|
|Leonard M Barlow||18.00|
|F W Higginson||15.00||The signature of F W Higginson features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Alan Geoffrey Page||12.50||The signature of Alan Geoffrey Page features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Cyril M Crowe||12.00|
|Maurice E Mealing||12.00|
|Hugh Spencer Leslie Dundas||11.00||The signature of Hugh Spencer Leslie Dundas features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Gordon Sinclair||10.00||The signature of Gordon Sinclair features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Aircraft for : No.56 Sqn RAF|
|A list of all aircraft known to have been flown by No.56 Sqn RAF. A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.|
Manufacturer : Bristol
Number Built : 400
The Bristol Bulldog was a British Royal Air Force single-seat biplane fighter designed during the 1920s by The Bulldog was designed by Frank Barnwell, the Chief Designer of the Bristol company (or Bristol Aeroplane Company,) with over 400 Bulldogs produced, that arguably became the most famous aircraft during the RAF's inter-war period. The Bristol Bulldog never saw combat service with the RAF, though during the Abyssinia Crisis of 1935-36, Bristol Bulldogs were sent to the Sudan to reinforce Middle East Command. one interesting note. Douglas Bader,The second world war ace, lost both of his legs when his Bristol Bulldog crashed while he was performing unauthorised flying Aerobatics at Woodley airfield near Reading. The Bulldog was a Single-seat day and night fighter. All metal construction with fabric covering. Manufactured by Bristol Aeroplane Co. Ltd, Filton, Bristol. Her engine was a 490 hp Bristol Jupiter VIIF, with a max speed of 174mph and a ceiling of 27,000 ft. She had two synchronised Vickers 0.303in machine guns.
Manufacturer : Gloster
Full profile not yet available.
Manufacturer : Gloster
Production Began : 1935
Retired : 1945
Number Built : 746
GLOSTER GLADIATOR: A continuation form the Gloster Gauntlet aircraft the Gloster Gladiator (SS37) becoming designated the F.7/30 was named Gladiator on the 1st July 1935. The first 70 Gladiators had Under wing machine guns (Vickers or Lewis) before the browning became standard The first aircraft arrived at Tangmere airfield on in February 1937 to no. 72 squadron. at the outbreak of world war two a total of 218 Gladiators had been received by the Royal air force with a total of 76 on active service. They served also in the Middle eats and in 1940 when Italy joined the war was nearly the only front line fighter in the middle east. Between 1939 and 1941. the Gloster Gladiator flew in many war zones. flying in France, Greece, Norway, Crete Egypt Malta and Aden. The Aircraft claimed nearly 250 air victories. It stayed in front line duties until 1942, then becoming fighter trainer, and other sundry roles. It continued in these roles until the end of world war two. The Naval equivalent the Sea Gladiator a short service in the Middle east and European waters. A Total of 746 aircraft were built of these 98 were Sea Gladiators.. Performance. speed: 250mph at 17,500 feet, 257 mph at 14,600 Range 430 miles. Armament: Two fixed .3-03 browning machine guns
Manufacturer : Hawker
Production Began : 1936
Number Built : 14533
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.
Manufacturer : BAC
Production Began : 1959
Retired : 1988
Number Built : 278
English Electric (later BAC) Lightning. Originally designed by W F Petter (the designer of the Canberra) The first Lighting Prototype was first flown on the 4th August 1954 by Wing Commander R P Beamont at Boscombe Down. The second prototype P1A, The name of Lightning was not used until 1958) (WG763) was shown at the Farnborough show in September 1955. The Third prototype was flown in April 1957 and was the first British aircraft ever to fly at Mach 2 on the 25th November 1958 The first production aircraft made its first flight on 3rd November 1959 and entered operational service with the RAF on the 29th June 1960with |NO. 74 squadron based at Coltishall. The F1 was followed shortly after by the F1A which had been modified to carry a in-flight refueling probe. The Lightning F2 entered service in December 1962 with no 19 and 92 squadrons. a total of 44 aircraft F2 were built. The F3 came into service between 1964 and 1966 with Fighter Command squadrons, re engined with the Roll's Royce Avon 301 turbojets. The Lightning T Mk 5 was a training version Lightning a total of 22 were built between August 1964 and December 1966. The BAC Lighting F MK 6 was the last variant of the lightning, base don the F3, this was the last single seat fighter and served the |Royal Air Force for 20 years. First Flown on 17th April 1964, and a total of 55 F6 saw service with the Royal Air Force, and the last Lightning F6 was produced in August 1967. A Total of 278 lightning's of all marks were delivered. In 1974 the Phantom aircraft began replacing the aging Lightning's, but 2 F6 remained in service up to 1988 with Strike Command until finally being replaced with Tornado's. Specifications for MK1 to 4: Made by English Electrc Aviation Ltd at Preston and Samlesbury Lancashire, designated P1B, All Weather single seat Fighter. Max Speed: Mach 2.1 (1390 mph) at 36,000 feet Ceiling 55,000 feet Armament: Two 30mm Aden guns and Two Firestreak infra red AAM's. Specificaitons for MK 6: Made by English Electrc Aviation Ltd at Preston Lancashire, designated P1B, All Weather single seat Fighter. Max Speed: Mach 2.27 (1500 mph) at 40,000 feet Ceiling 55,000 feet Range: 800 miles. Armament: Two 30mm Aden guns and Two Firestreak infra red AAM's. or Two Red Top. or two retractable contain 24 spin-stabilized rockets each.
Manufacturer : Gloster
Production Began : 1944
Number Built : 3947
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.
Production Began : 1917
The third S.E.5 produced (A4563) became, in effect, the prototype S.E.5a with a 200hp Hispano Suiza power plant and shorter span wings. The S.E.5.a went to No56, No.40 and No.60 squadrons from June 1917, and by the end of the year No's 24, 41, 68 and 84 squadron had taken them on charge. After troubles with the reduction gear of the Hispano Suiza together with a general shortage of these power plants, the direct drive Wolseley Viper became the standard S.E.5a power unit. The S.E.5.a built a fine reputation for strength, performance and general flying quality, which together with the Sopwith Camel was the main reason for the Allies gaining and maintaining air superiority during 1918. Some aircraft were fitted with four 25lb (11kg) Cooper bombs on under fuselage racks. The S.E.5.a also service in the Middle East and several home defence units in 1918. At the end of World War I over 2,000 S.E.5.a aircraft were in service with the RAF. The type had served with 24 British, 2 US and 1 Australian Squadrons. After its 'demob' 50 of these aircraft were supplied to Australia, 12 to Canada with several more to other countries including South Africa, Poland and the United States of America. 50 came onto the British register and were used for developing the art of sky-writing. The S.E.5.a will always remain one of aviation's great warplanes.
Full profile not yet available.
Manufacturer : Hawker
Production Began : 1943
Retired : 1949
Number Built : 1395
The Hawker Tempest was a much improved development of the Typhoon and first flew in June 1943. and started service with the RAF in April 1944. mainly serving in the attack role in Europe against ground targets including the V1 Flying Bomb installations. It remained in service after the war until 1949 when it was eventually replaced by the Jet Aircraft. but continued for another 4 years in the Indian and Pakistan air forces. In total no less than 1395 Hawker Tempests were built. Speed: 426mph at 18,500 feet, Crew One. Range 800 miles. Armament: Four 20mm Hispano cannons mounted in the wings and a bomb payload of upto 2,000 lbs.
Manufacturer : Hawker
Production Began : 1941
Number Built : 3330
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.
|Signatures for : No.56 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.|
Click the name above to see prints signed by Dick Carrey
| Dick Carrey |
Served on No 56 Squadron, the Lightning OCU at RAF Coltishall and also with the Saudi Air Force
Group Captain Dick Cloke AFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Group Captain Dick Cloke AFC
| Group Captain Dick Cloke AFC |
Served on No 56 Squadron (the Firebirds) and No 111 Squadron
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
| 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.
Warrant Officer Peter Fox
Click the name above to see prints signed by Warrant Officer Peter Fox
| Warrant Officer Peter Fox |
Peter Hutton Fox was born in Bridlington on 23rd January 1921 and educated at Warwick Public School. He joined the RAFVR in June 1939 and began training at 26 E&RFTS, Kidlington. Called up on 1st September he was posted to 13 EFTS Fairoaks on 28th March 1940 and then moved to 10 EFTS, Yatesbury on 28th May. Advanced training was carried out by Fox at 8 FTS, Montrose after which he went to 5 OTU, Aston Down to convert to Hurricanes and then joined 56 Squadron at Boscombe Down on 17th September 1940. Fox was shot down in combat with Do17s and Me110s over the Portland area on 30th September. Peter Fox was wounded in the leg and was forced to bale out over the Portland area. His Hurricane, N2434, crashed at Okeford Fitzpaine. On 16th November Fox and Pilot Officer MR Ingle-Finch were flying to Kidlington in a Magister, when they crashed near Tidworth. Both were injured and admitted to Tidworth Hospital. On 28th June 1941 Fox joined 234 Squadron at Warmwell. He was shot down over France on 20th October 1941 and captured. Freed on 16th April 1945, Fox left the RAF in 1946 as a Warrant Officer. He sadly passed away on 10th June 2005.
Flight Lieutenant Bill Green
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Bill Green
| Flight Lieutenant Bill Green |
In December 1936, Bill Green joined the Auxiliary Air Force as an aero engine fitter with 501 Squadron at Filton, near Bristol. Shortly before the start of the Second World War, he was given a rare chance for an engine fitter. In 1938 he joined a scheme to recruit NCO pilots, qualifying as a Flight Sergeant and re-joined 501 at Bristol in July 1940. Sgt Bill Green had completed just 10 hours of dual flying – with an instructor. In October, he was sent for further flying instruction and on October 30th he had his first solo flight in a Magister aircraft. After more training – and getting married on June 3rd – he flew a Hurricane for the first time on August 8th 1940, when the Battle of Britain had been raging for a month. He flew from Kenley throughout the Battle of Britain until November, surviving being shot down twice, before being posted to 504 Squadron. After a spell instructing on Spitfires and Tomahawks, he converted to Typhoons, and from November 1944 served with 56 Squadron on Tempests. He flew more than 50 missions in Tempest fighter aircraft with 56 Squadron. He was shot down over Germany on February 22nd 1945 and spent the last three months of the war as a prisoner of war. After the war, Green enjoyed a hugely successful business career, ending up as the managing director and chairman of Crown Paints, before retiring on his 60th birthday.
Wing Commander Taffy Higginson
Click the name above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Wing Commander Taffy Higginson
| Wing Commander Taffy Higginson |
Frederick William Higginson was born into a Welsh-speaking family at Gorseinon, near Swansea, where his father was a policeman. He attended Gorseinon Grammar School until beginning his apprenticeship with the RAF. Enlisting in 1929 at the age of 16, Taffy Higginson served as a fitter and air gunner with No.7 Sqn until 1935, when he was accepted for flight training. After qualifying as a pilot, he initially flew with No.19 Sqn before transferring to No.56 Sqn on Hurricanes. By June 1941 he had tallied a score of 12 victories. On June 17th, 1941, he was shot down by anti-aircraft fire over Dunkirk while escorting bombers returning from an operation over Lille. With considerable height in hand, he was able to bale out safely and guide his parachute to land in a wood near a railway. Having a map, he established that he was about 12 miles northwest of Fauquembergues but he had lost one of his boots in ejecting from his Hurricane. Limping along, he was overtaken by two German soldiers on a motorcycle combination sent out to find him. His capture appeared certain but the abrupt appearance of a low-flying Luftwaffe aircraft distracted the soldier driving the motorcycle, enabling Higginson to wrench over the handlebars, crash the machine into a ditch and make off in the confusion. He hid in the wood until after dark and then made his way to a hut on the edge, where he sought assistance from the owner. Confident of his limited French, he ordered a glass of beer, paid for it with money provided by the French farmer and hitched a lift with a lorry driver who took him to a local garage whose owner had contacts with an escape line for British airmen. After a series of adventures, Higginson crossed into Vichy- controlled France and made contact with the MI9 escape line run by the Belgian doctor Albert-Marie Guérisse, alias “Pat O’Leary”. While attempting to cross into Spain with an Australian escaped prisoner of war, he was stopped and arrested by Vichy French frontier guards and interned in Fort de la Revère near Nice. Thanks to the efforts of Guérisse, he escaped from there and was eventually taken off the French Mediterranean coast by a Polish-manned trawler operating out of Gibraltar under the auspices of the Special Operations Executive. He was landed at Greenock on October 5, 1942, and rejoined No 56 Squadron shortly afterwards. He was awarded the DFC in 1943. After the war he served with Headquarters 11 Group, attended the RAF Staff course at Bracknell and also graduated from the Army Staff College, Camberley. He resigned from the RAF in 1956 to join the Bristol aircraft manufacturers at Filton, where the company was developing the ground-to-air rocket-powered defensive system, Bloodhound. In 1963 he joined the board of Bristol and was appointed OBE for services to industry that year. Sadly Frederick William Higginson passed away on 12th February 2003, aged 89.
Wing Commander M R Ingle-Finch DFC, AFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Wing Commander M R Ingle-Finch DFC, AFC
| Wing Commander M R Ingle-Finch DFC, AFC |
Michael Ingle-Finch commenced his operational RAF career flying Hurricanes during and after the Battle of Britain. He then joined 56 Squadron based at Duxford and was amongst the first squadron pilots to fly a Typhoon when the first operational Typhoons came into service on that significant day, 11th September 1941. In September 1942, by now promoted to Flight Commander, Ingle-Finch achieved another first - 56 Squadrons first air victory in a Typhoon when he shot down a Junkers Ju88 off the east coast. Having been involved with Typhoons since they became operational, Ingle-Finch went on to fly them throughout their operational life. On 31st December 1943, he was promoted to command 175 Squadron during the decisive campaign in Normandy. In that same year he was awarded the DFC. His distinguished wartime service in the RAF culminated in promotion to Wing Commander Flying of 124 Wing. Passed away 2002.
Squadron Leader Arthur Leigh DFC, DFM
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Arthur Leigh DFC, DFM
| Squadron Leader Arthur Leigh DFC, DFM |
Another RAFVR pilot, The son of a regular soldier, Arthur Leigh was called up at the outbreak of war. After finishing his flying training he was posted to 7 OTU and then on to convert to Spitfires in August 1940. Arthur Leigh flew with 64 Squadron at Leconfield and 72 Squadron at Biggin Hill during the Battle of Britain before transferring to 611 Squadron. Awarded the DFM in September 1941, Leigh had then completed 50 sweeps, had destroyed two Bf 109s, probably destroyed another four and shared in the destruction of a Do 17. After a spell instructing and ferrying Hurricanes from Gibraltar to Cairo, he returned to operations with 56 Squadron flying Typhoons from Manston. He was shot down on his first sweep by flak, near Calais but was picked up by an ASR launch. In late 1943 Leigh was posted to 129 Squadron at Hornchurch and was awarded the DDC on completing his second tour in December 1944, spending the rest of the war as an instructor.
Wing Commander Roger Morewood
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Wing Commander Roger Morewood
| Wing Commander Roger Morewood |
An uncle suggested to Roger Morewood that he should join the RAF so Roger did at the age of 17. Roger said : I was going be a pilot, that was the only reason to join. Roger trained to fly in a Tiger Moth biplane before joining 56 Squadron - regarded within the RAF as an elite unit - flying open cockpit Gauntlet fighters. The squadron were then re-equipped with Gloster Gladiators - the last RAF biplane - then the Hawker Hurricanes that would join Spitfires in fighting off Hitlers Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. While serving with 56 Squadron Roger Morewood was assigned the dangerous role of long-range fighter sweeps over the coast of occupied France and Holland but left to help form 248 Sqn at Hendon with whom he served throughout the Battle of Britain flying Blenheims. Roger said: We had a few panic station alerts when we were scrambled. We wouldd be leaping into our aircraft with flying suits over our pyjamas as we tried to get into the air in a minute and a half. In July 1942 Morewood went to 9 OTU and later HQ Transport Command. After a long post-war career in the RAF he retired in 1957. Roger Morewood once said of his squadron: It was damned dodgy. We had a high loss rate on operations. And on one sortie - then aged 21 - he nearly met his maker : I flew across to Den Helder (Northern Holland) in a long-nosed Blenheim to look after this battleship at the entrance to the Zuiderzee. We flew round this thing and sure enough I saw some aircraft coming up. They were twin-engine bombers naturally - Messerschmitt 110s. That was a bit hairy. My two blokes (other pilots) shoved off in a hurry into a cloud, and there was me popping away until I ran out of ammunition. There was just me left. I realised there was no point chasing - I was not going to knock his wings off. So I started flying home. After making hardly any noise all flight the chap (navigator) in the back said you haveve got somebody on your tail now - you had better move swiftly. So I moved to left and right. We got a pretty hefty clobbering. His turret disappeared at the back. My poor navigator wore a tin hat and I dont blame him. He got a bullet half way through his armour. He was alright. I had a dreadful wound. If I shook my hand really hard I could get blood out of one finger. I was hit all over the place. We took dozens of bullets. The aircraft was ruined. That is all there was to it. We were still going home - even with the North Sea to go across. So I trundled off back and ditched the damn thing. Thank God it didnt blow up. We literally got away with it. It was the hairiest trip I ever did. On another occasion, Roger intercepted a German weather forecasting flying boat called Weary Willy : I was in a Beaufighter at this time. I flew upwind and had a shot at him downwind. Then all the guns jammed. So I pulled alongside him - not too close - and waved him good luck lad. Anyway he sank when he got back to Norway. That was that one finished. Flying from Shetland, his squadron attacked German shipping off Norway. Roger was rested and spent two years training new Beaufighter pilots but still managed to go on some operations, mainly attacking convoys off the coast of Holland. Roger Morewood said: job was to attack the flak ships, floating anti-aircraft batteries, so other Beaufighters could attack the cargo ships. It could be pretty hairy as 12 Beaufighters lined up to have a crack at the target. You wouldd see tracer shells from your mates plane whizzing over your head or underneath you. They were a bigger danger than the Germans Wing Commander Roger Morwood was posted to the Mediterranean where he contracted TB. He recalled: "In hospital, they treated you with whisky in milk and a pint of Guinness for breakfast, very primitive stuff." When the war ended and the RAF were scaled down, Roger continued to serve in various postings around the UK until 1947. after leaving the RAF Roger was recalled again as an instructor at the Central Flying School, but with the rank of flight lieutenant. He was posted to Edinburgh and then Glasgow University squadrons. finnaly leaving service in 1957. Wing Commander Roger Morewood notched up more than 5000 flying hours in 32 different types of aircraft.
Wing Commander Geoffrey Page DSO OBE DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Wing Commander Geoffrey Page DSO OBE DFC
| Wing Commander Geoffrey Page DSO OBE DFC |
Geoffrey Page was born in Boxmoor on 16th May 1920. Geoffrey Page developed an early interest in aviation, which is not surprising as he had an uncle who flew during the Great War and another uncle was Sir Frederick Handley Page, the great aircraft manufacturer. Page went to Dean Close School in Cheltenham, Glouscestershire, and later went to the Imperial College to study engineering. It was at college he joined the University Air Squadron at Northolt. Two weeks after the outbreak of the Second World War, Geoffrey Page received his call-up papers and joined the RAF with the rank of Acting Pilot Officer and went to Cranwell for advanced training. In May 1940 after a short period of instructing, Page was posted to 66 Squadron, flying Supermarine Spitfires but was almost immediately re-assigned to 56 Squadron where he was to fly the Hawker Hurricane. Whilst as a pilot officer with 56 squadron he took part in the Battles of France and Britain, and had accounted for three kills by the time he was shot down on the 12th August 1940 during the Battle of Britain. Flying behind his commanding officer, who was attacking a large formation of Dornier Do17 bombers, his Hurricane was hit and caught fire. Burning high-octane fuel sprayed into the cockpit, covering Page, resulting in very bad burns to his face and hands. Page parachuted out and his Hurricane crashed into the sea. After being picked up from the sea he was taken to the burns unit at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, where he was treated by Sir Archibald MacIndoe, a pioneering plastic surgeon. He spent the next two years in hospital undergoing numerous plastic surgery operations. Both of his hands were burnt down to the bone, and his head had swollen to three times its normal size. Page had also received gunshot wounds to his legs. Page became a founding member of the Guinea Pig Club, where Sir Archibald MacIndoe was elected life time president and Geoffrey Page was its first chairman. In late 1942 he re-joined operations again as a Flight Lieutenant. He joined No.132 Squadron as a supernumerary Flight Lieutenant, before volunteering for service in North Africa, but returned to the UK as the desert heat caused problems on his skin grafts. In July 1943 he won his first DFC. Later in the year he joined 122 Squadron as a Flight Commander, before re-joining No.132 Squadron in January 1944 as Commanding Officer. On 29th April 1944 Page led his squadron to strafe Deelen airfield in Holland, and attacked a Bf110 night fighter that was landing. Despite the odds, the Bf110 shot down two Spitfires, before Page forced the aircraft down and destroyed it. The pilot of the Bf110 was the famous Major Hans-Joachim Jabs, who survived. Page was later promoted Wing Leader of 125 wing, and after another DFC he won the DSO at the end of 1944. Page had achieved his goal of 15 victories (10 solo, 5 shared, and 3 damaged). After the war on a tour of the United States met his wife to be, the daughter of a British Hollywood actor. He left the R.A.F. in 1948 joining Vickers Armstrong. In retirement, Page remained the driving force of the Guinea Pig Club, and also founded the Battle of Britain Trust. This raised more than one million pounds, with which the Battle of Britain memorial was erected overlooking the Straits of Dover. In 1995 he was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Sadly Alan Geoffrey Page DSO, OBE, DFC and Bar died 3rd August 2000.
Group Captain Herbert M Pinfold
Click the name above to see prints signed by Group Captain Herbert M Pinfold
| Group Captain Herbert M Pinfold |
Group Captain Herbert Moreton Pinfold, Battle of Britian pilot with 56 Squadron flying Hurricanes, he also flew with 6, 64, 502 and 603 Squadrons. Sadly, Herbert Pinfold passed away on 19th October 2009. Group Captain Herbert Moreton Pinfold was born 5th February 1913 and joined the Royal Air Force in August 1934 at the age of 21. In September Herbert Pinfold was posted to 5 FTS, Sealand and with training completed, on the 5th of September he was sent to join 6 Squadron at Ismailia, Egypt. He returned to the UK on 19th March 1936 and joined the newly formed 64 Squadron. The squadron were flying Hawker Demons, and were moved to the Western Desert to combat the Italian Air Force threat. The squadron returned to the UK in September. After a short spell as personal assistant and pilot to AOC 11 Group, Herbert Pinfold was sent on a Flying Instructors Course at RAF Upavon. After completing the instructors course he was posted to 502 Squadron, AuxAF as Flying Instructor and Adjutant at RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland on 16th July 1938. In January 1939, Herbert Pinfold went to RAF Turnhouse, Edinburgh and joined 603 Squadron where the squadron were flying Gladiators and then Spitfires. He went to 3 FTS, South Cerney on 2nd July 1940, as an instructor. On the 11th of August Penfold went to Aston Down and converted to Hurricanes. Herbert Pinfold took command of 56 Squadron at North Weald on the 25th, remaining with it until 29th January 1941, after this he was posted to 10 FTS at Tern Hill when he returned to flying instruction with a posting to 10 FTS, Tern Hill. Herbert Pinfold completed the RAF Staff College course and went on a number fo staff positions in the UK and also overseas including Ceylon and Singapore. Coming back to the UK Herbert Pinfold took command of Duxford, at that time flying Meteors, after which was posted to the Air Ministry. In 1953 Herbert was appointed Air Attache in Rome, before returning to the UK in 1956 for a second spell as Station Commander of Duxford. On the 1st of October 1958 Herbet Pinfold retired at the rank of Group Captain. Sadly, Herbert Pinfold passed away on 19th October 2009.
Group Captain Dave Seward AFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Group Captain Dave Seward AFC
| Group Captain Dave Seward AFC |
Dave Seward flew RAF Meteors, Canberras and Javelins and USAF F-86, F-102 and F-106 fighters. In 1961, as C.O. of No.56 Sqn he led the 'Firebirds' Lightning aerobatic team and later Commanded the Lightning OCU and Battle of Britain Flight, flying the Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire.
Wing Commander Gordon Sinclair OBE DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Wing Commander Gordon Sinclair OBE DFC
| Wing Commander Gordon Sinclair OBE DFC |
A short service commission officer, Sinclair joined 19 Squadron as early as 1937 and was still with the Squadron in 1940. Over Dunkirk he destroyed a Bf 109 and probably another, and then on June 1 he destroyed two Bf 110s and on a later patrol the same day he claimed a He 111 and a Do 17 destroyed. He was awarded the DFC. He knew Bader well during his stay with 19 Squadron when Bader often flew as his No 2. Sinclair remembers his forceful personality, but also that he was great fun. They often played golf and squash together. In June 1940 Sinclair was posted as Flight Commander to 310 Squadron at Drixford and was soon to fly with that Squadron as part of the Duxford Wing, led by Douglas Bader. His final score was 10 confirmed victories. He later commanded 56 Squadron on Typhoons before promotion to Wing Commander and a post on the staff of HO 84 Group. Sinclair retired from the RAF in 1957. He died on 26th June 2005.
Squadron Leader Chris Taylor MBE
Click the name above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Chris Taylor MBE
| Squadron Leader Chris Taylor MBE |
Joined the RAF as an apprentice air radar fitter in 1961. He began flying training in 1966 flying the Jet Provost, Gnat and Hunter. He completed the lightning OCU at RAF Coltishall before joining 56(F) Sqn at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. A further tour on the Lightning back at the OCU was followed by selection for instructor training at CFS. He instructed on the Gnat at RAF Valley and then joined the team to bring the Hawk into RAF flying training. He flew both the Gnat and the Hawk as a member of the Standardisation Unit before an exchange tour with the USAF took him to Randolf AF base in South Texas. Returning to RAF Valley he completed tours as a Hawk Sqn Commander, Operations, and Deputy Chief Instructor before retirement from the RAF in 1998. He then began a second career as the Training Manager in the Hawk Synthetic Training Facility at RAF Valley.
|Known Individual Aircraft Records for this Squadron|
|30th September 1940||Hurricane||N2434||Shot down during combat with Do17s and Me110s over Portland. Pilot Peter Fox injured and baled out.|
|21st May 1944||Hurricane||Z2767 Mk.IIb||Flown by Wing Commander Edward Philip Patrick Gibbs of No.56 Squadron|
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