“This tortoise with the painted cross has become a talisman of a squadron in the South East”(?) (via)
“”Return after combat” it said on the back of these two pictures. the exhausted face and the wet hair shows that it, as always, was a matter of life or death. Summer 1940” (via)
(The pilot, Gustav “Micky” Sprick, recorded nine victories during the Battle of Britain. He died in June 1941 - the right wing of his aircraft separating during a dogfight with Royal Air Force fighters over France)
“On board a No 240 Squadron Catalina at Stranraer, March 1941. A WOp/AG (wireless operator/air gunner) poses with his twin Vickers ‘K’ guns at the starboard blister hatch, while being serenaded by the banjulele-playing navigator!” (via)
the aircraft behind him are American Bell P-39 Airacobras, obtained through the Lend-Lease program - approximately 4,600 of the 9,500 produced P-39s ended up in the Soviet Union, and used to immense effect by The Red Air Force
“Still from camera gun footage shot from a North American Mustang Mark III flown by Flying Officer J Butler of No. 65 Squadron RAF, as he shot down a Focke Wulf Fw 190D of II/JG26 which was attempting to attack an Avro Lancaster (banking, left), during a daylight raid by Bomber Command on the Gremberg railway yards at Cologne, Germany.” (via)
“April 15 was Osterkamp’s birthday…and he invited me to come over. As a present I packed a huge basket of lobsters with the necessary bottles of champagne into my ME-109F and took off, with Oberfeldwebel Westphal piloting the companion plane. Again it was too tempting not to make a little detour on the way and to pay a visit to England.
Soon I spotted a single Spitfire. After a wild chase fate decided in my favour. My tough opponent crashed in flames in a little village west of Dover. A few moments later we saw a flight of Spitfires climbing ahead of us. One of them lagged behind the formation. I approached him unnoticed and shot him to smithereens from a very short distance. We flew right on close to the formation, where I shot down a third Spitfire, which I nearly rammed. I was unable to observe the crash.
Westphal was now in a good firing position but suddenly all his guns jammed. Now it was time to bolt as the Spitfires waded in on us. Throttle full open in a power dive down to the Channel! We were heavily attacked. Westphal was noticeably faster than I. Something was wrong with my crate.
As I came in to land at Le Touquet the ground staff waved frantically and fired red light signals. At last Iunderstood their gestures: I had nearly made an involuntary crash landing. When I worked the
mechanism to let down the undercarriage it did not go down but retracted instead. It must have been down the whole time. I must have touched the button with my knee during the action over England. I remembered that I had had to do some readjusting and that the flying properties of the plane had definitely changed.
Lobster and champagne bottles were safe. Hunter’s luck! Together with the report of the Spitfires I handed the birthday present to Osterkamp…”
“Vertical photograph taken during the night attack on the German tank and lorry depot near Mailly-le-Camp, France, by 346 Avro Lancasters of Nos. 1 and 5 Groups. A Lancaster, silhouetted by the large explosion, clears the target area during the raid which, although successful in the destruction caused, was costly in terms of aircraft losses, 42 being shot down by Luftwaffe night fighters.” (via)
“The R/T [Radio Telephone) discipline, I’m afraid to say, was bad. There were many skippers calling for the OK to go in and bomb; their language was fruity to say the least, the night sky was blue!! One pilot was heard to say that he was on fire and for the markers to “pull their fingers out”. An Australian voice came in reply “If you are going to die, die like a man – quietly.”..
..In my diary, I record that a “scarecrow” exploded immediately beneath us. As previously mentioned, we are now sure that it was an actual aircraft blowing up. The bomb-aimer, who was lying down in the nose, saw the explosion and the blast and flames rising rapidly towards us. He had no time to say anything before the blast hit us. We were blown nearly completely upside down…
…When we became straight and level again, I checked the crew for injuries. All seemed OK until I checked with Taffy, Idris Arndell, the wireless operator. On hearing him call “Blood, Blood!” I looked back through the navigator’s curtain to see Taffy wiping his face and head. Little did I know that it was our “pee can” that had tipped over him in the mêlée…” (via Flight Lieutenant Russell “Rusty” Waughman, DFC, AFC)
“Bristol Beaufighters from Nos. 144 and 254 Squadrons RAF, No. 455 Squadron RAAF and No. 489 Squadron RNZAF attacking German ‘M’ class minesweepers escorting a convoy off the Dutch coast, north-west of Borkum, with rocket projectiles. Thirteen aircraft can be seen in the photograph, which was taken over the tail of a Beaufighter of No. 455 Squadron after delivering its attack.” (via)
“A Bristol Blenheim Mark IV, V5589, of No. 113 Squadron RAF based at Asansol, India, veers out of control as it is shot down by Japanese fighters while carrying out a low-level bombing attack on two Japanese merchant vessels moored at Akyab, Burma. The attack, comprising thirteen Blenheims drawn from Nos. 34, 60 and 113 Squadrons RAF, sank the two vessels and badly damaged the jetty for the loss of three Blenheims. The crew of V5589, Sergeants John Reid (pilot), Peter Wilson (navigator), and Len White (wireless operator/air gunner), were captured by the Japanese.” (via)