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  1. Pilot Officer George Barclay wrote in his diary on 6 September 1940 whilst based at North Weald: "We are having simply magnificent weather - I've never known anything like it - clear skies and brilliant sun." George was a member of 249 Squadron, but they were flying 56 Squadron's Hurricanes! 249 had recently arrived at North Weald to relieve 56 Squadron, the latter going for "a rest" to Boscombe Down in Wiltshire where their task was defending Southampton and Portsmouth. But their Hurricanes were fitted with VHF, deemed to be "foolproof" whereas 249's weren't.....so they swapped! But as depicted above, Hurricane P3135 was being flown by F/O Richard Brooker, it was "his" Hurricane from new and he, presumably decided that with the squadron code of US-U the aeroplane warranted the name "Euthanasia": But it almost killed him on 21 August when he crash landed it: This is the PCM metal wing kit plus Fawcett nose section, "dog kennel" and lower wing centre section, and the AIMS spinner and prop, build thread here. The pilot is by Black Dog plus additions. Hope you like it! Had to add this one….thanks Guy!
  2. As some will know, when I make a model I like to have a connection of some sort with the subject, and as some will also know I had the pleasure of flying in a two-seat Hurricane earlier this year. So whilst I'm still building a Hurricane Mk I at the moment, I also have Revell's new tool Mk IIB waiting in the wings. Francis K Mason's book lists the serial numbers of most Hurricanes and their brief history, so I looked up BE505 (the Hurricane I flew in) as a possible subject, but what took my eye was a closely related Hurricane, BE503 of 175 Squadron which was based at Warmwell, a village in my home county of Dorset and close to where I used to live (Warmwell is best known as the base for Westland Whirlwinds). There is a beautiful little church in the village which has 22 graves of servicemen tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. I searched the CWGC site to see if any airmen from the airbase were buried there (there aren't) but the name of Jaroslav Hlavac stood out.....more investigation! Jaro's rather sad story is worth reading: "Jaroslav Hlaváč was born 11 October 1914 at Petřvald, a village, about 10 km east of Ostrava, in the Moravia region of Czechoslovakia. He attended the local school until he reached the 4th grade and then he moved on to the secondary school at Jistebník, about 30 km away. On completion of his education, he trained as a metal turner at Vítkovice, about 9 km from his village. In 1933, aged 19, Jaroslav commenced his compulsory military service and was selected for the Czechoslovak Air Force. He attended the Military Aviation School at Prostějov between 1934 and 1936, from where he graduated as a fighter pilot. His first posting, at the rank of sergeant, was to the 7th Squadron of the 2nd Air Regiment based at Vyškov as an operational pilot in Letov Š-328 biplane reconnaissance aircraft. He later returned to Prostějov where he attended a fighter pilot training course, graduating in 1938. Jaroslav was then posted to the 35th Squadron of the 2nd Air Regiment based at Olomouc airbase which was equipped with Avia B-534 biplane fighter aircraft. He remained there until the German occupation of Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939, by which time he had achieved 295 flying hours. After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939, the Czechoslovak Air Force was quickly disbanded by the Germans and all personnel dismissed. The same fate befell most of those serving in the Czechoslovak Army. For the military personnel and many patriotic Czech citizens, this was a degrading period. Many sought to re-dress this shame and humiliation and sought the liberation of their homeland. Germanisation of Bohemia and Moravia began immediately, but by 19 March 1939 former senior officers of the now disbanded Czechoslovak military had started to form an underground army, known as Obrana Národa [Defence of the Nation]. One of their objectives was to assist as many airmen and soldiers as possible to get to neighbouring Poland where Ludvík Svoboda, a former distinguished Czechoslovak Legionnaire from WW1, was planning the formation of Czechoslovak military units to fight for the liberation of their homeland. Within Czechoslovakia, former military personnel and civilian patriots covertly started to arrange for former Air Force and Army personnel to be smuggled over the border into Poland to join these newly formed Czechoslovak units. Obrana Národa also worked in co-operation with Svaz Letců, the Airman Association of the Czechoslovak Republic. These two organisations provided money, courier and other assistance to enable airmen to escape to Poland. Usually, this was by crossing the border from the Ostrava region into neighbouring Poland. News soon began to be covertly spread amongst the former Czechoslovak airmen and soldiers and many voluntarily made their personal decision to go to Poland. Jaroslav was one of those who decided to escape and enlist in one of those units. In early May 1939, he successfully managed to cross the border to Poland and reported for duty at the Czechoslovak Consulate at Kraków. Once in Poland the Czechoslovak escapees were to find that Poland was not permitting the formation of foreign military units on its territory. However Czechoslovak officials had been in negotiations with France, a country with which Czechoslovakia had an Alliance Treaty. Under French law, foreign military units could not be formed on its soil during peacetime. The Czechoslovak escapees could only be accepted into the French Foreign Legion with the agreement that should war be declared they would be transferred to French military units. The Czechoslovaks would have to enlist with the French Foreign Legion for a five-year term. The alternative was to be returned to occupied Czechoslovakia and face German punishment for escaping – usually imprisonment or execution with further retribution to their families. The Czechoslovak escapees were initially billeted at Małe Bronowice, a former Polish army camp on the outskirts of Kraków whilst arrangements were made for their departure to France. When those arrangements were completed, Jaroslav, with other escaped Czechoslovak airmen, travelled by train to Gdynia, Poland, where, they boarded a ship which took them to Calais, arriving on 31 July. On arrival in France, the Czechoslovak airmen were taken to the Foreign Legion’s recruitment barracks at Place Balard in the south west of Paris for medical examination and recruitment documentation to be completed. This time was to serve as a familiarisation period to learn the ways of the Legion and to study, which continued after their acceptance whilst they waited for transfer to Sidi-bel-Abbis, the Legion’s training camp in Algeria. But before that process could be completed, war was declared on 3 September 1939 and instead the airmen were transferred to l’ Armée d’Air recruitment centre at Dugny, near Paris. Upon acceptance by the l’ Armée d’Air, Jaroslav was transferred to their training base at Centre d’Instruction de Chasse at Chartres about 75 km west of Paris, for conversion onto French aircraft. Jaroslav arrived there on 11 September 1939 and completed his training on 8 March 1940. He was then posted, as an operational pilot with the rank of Caporal Chef (Sgt) to GC III/7, based at Vitry le François near the Swiss-German border and equipped with MS-406 fighter aircraft. When the Germans invaded France, the rapidity of their Blitzkreig – lightning war – caused GC III/7 to have to change their airfields frequently as they retreated westward. On 17 June 1940 Jaroslav and other Czechoslovak airmen were transferred to GC I/6 based at Ussel which was also equipped with MS-406 fighter aircraft. Three days later, France capitulated. GC I/6 was now at Clermont-Ferand airbase, and its Czechoslovak airmen were released from Armée de l’Air service; Jaroslav had flown 68 operational hours in that service. They made their way to Port Vendres and on 24 June boarded the ‘General Chanzy’ which took them to Oran, Algeria. They then travelled for four days by train to Casablanca, Morocco, where they boarded a ship which took them to Gibraltar, where they transferred to a ship which brought them to England. Shortly after arrival to England, he was accepted into the RAF VR and on 12 July was posted to the newly formed 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron at Duxford near Cambridge, where he was assigned to the squadron’s reserve pool of pilots who were awaiting conversion training on Hurricanes. When 310 Squadron became operational on 17 August 1940, it was no longer possible for training to be undertaken within the squadron due to shortages of aircraft and instructors so the reserve-pool pilots were assigned to 6 OTU at Sutton Bridge near Spalding, Lincolnshire on 17 August. Jaroslav completed this on 10 September and the following day he was posted to 79 Squadron (Madras Presidency) which was equipped with Hurricane Mk Is based at Pembrey, South Wales. Whilst there he made only a few training flights. On 8 October, Jaroslav was posted to 56 Squadron (Punjab) based at Boscombe Down near Salisbury, also equipped with Hurricane Mk Is. On 10 October, Jaroslav made his first operational patrol when six Hurricanes took-off at 09:20 for a patrol over Warmwell, Dorset, returning at 09:40. Later that morning at 11:55, six of the squadron’s Hurricanes were scrambled to intercept a Luftwaffe formation of 30 Bf110s escorted by 30 Bf109s approaching the Portland Naval Base. Jaroslav was flying Hurricane P3421. Jaroslav was killed in action when he was shot down by a Bf109 flown by Oberleutnant Julius Meimburg of 4/JG2 west of Wareham; his Hurricane crashed at Manor Farm Worgret. He was 26 years old and had become the fifth Czechoslovak pilot to be killed in the Battle of Britain." How very sad that after all his training, his travels and his determination to fight he was killed on his second day with his new Squadron, and on his first engagement with the Luftwaffe. An extract from the Squadron ORB for the day: ...and what a coincidence that on both ops. F/Lt Brooker accompanied Hlavac. What a coincidence, Brooker and his Hurricane are the subject of my current Hurricane build in the "Aces High GB": This is Jaro's resting place: and his headstone: The context for the battle; the attack was on Portland Harbour which was an important base for the Naval Fleet (what a coincidence, I lived on Portland for 30 years and had to be evacuated at one point for two days because an unexploded German bomb had been found in a quarry!), Warmwell to the north and Hlavac's Hurricane crashed at Worgret, west of Wareham (what a coincidence....I used to teach in Wareham and rode past the crash site very day without knowing it): So I've started a bit of research into 175 Squadron at Warmwell with their Hurribombers. Most of the time I think they were bored stiff with very little happening except for training exercises, beating up Portland Bill and the aerodrome and most went one or two at a time to Boscombe to look at some captured Luftwaffe aircraft being evaluated there, but they had their moments of excitement: attacking gun positions on the French coastline, and: So a future project: and in the name of research only (how serendipitous): Cheers ....and a Happy Christmas followed by the Healthy New Year!
  3. This is jumping the gun slightly because the Demon isn’t quite finished, but I feel the need for a bit of R&R of a different kind right now, having worked on three biplanes in a row. So today I aim to do an hour or two of straightforward cutting and sanding. All the white metal castings are excellent, but for the cockpit I'm using the True Details resin offering: OK, onwards and upwards....................
  4. I can't think of a kit that has given me more satisfaction than Silver Wings Gauntlet: Build thread and lots of lovely period photos: My thanks to all those who helped me along the way, it certainly wasn't a straightforward build and it had its "moments" but the end result is satisfying.
  5. This is my HK Meteor F4 finished as VT413 of 56 squadron based at RAF Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire circa 1951. The AM bits used were the G-Force undercarriage (expensive but really worthwhile) along with the Brassin wheels, Fisher long chord nacelles to give the right shape at the front end, Profimodeller cockpit PE and Pheon decals. The trolley acc is by Iconicair. After fiddling about with two Tiger Moths for a few months (and not completing them!) this kit was a joy to build. It all went together fairly well with no major issues. I used Mr Paint white aluminium and duraluminium to get the finish that I wanted with Flory dark dirt to weather the plane in places. The sergeant ground crew figure is from the Wings Cockpit range, the pilot is adapted from a WW2 wireless operator, can't quite remember who produced it though. Hope you like it, the next Meteor will be the T7 . Max
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