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Canberra - Aircraft Profile - English Electric : Canberra


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Manufacturer : English Electric
Number Built :
Production Began : 1951
Retired :
Type :

The English Electric Canberra first flew on Friday 13 May 1949 when its performance created a sensation. Such was the quality of the original design that in May 1951, when the first B2 Canberras entered service with No 101 Squadron at RAF Binbrook they could out manoeuvre all the fighters of the period and fly with impunity more than 10,000 feet above them. Operated by 17 airforces in more than 20 different variants, Canberras have been to war at Suez and in India, in Vietnam and the Falklands campaign, and in 1996 Canberra PR9s were engaged in operational reconnaissance flights over Bosnia and in other regions. It is widely and justifiably regarded as one of the greatest aircraft designs of all time.


Canberra Artwork Collection

Canberras Over Cambridgeshire by Robert Taylor.

English Electric (BAC) Canberra.

Musketeer Canberras by Ivan Berryman.

The Marham Wing Over Sandringham by Michael Rondot.

Canberra Tribute by Michael Rondot.

Squadrons for : Canberra
A list of all squadrons from known to have used this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.

No.10 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st January 1915

Rem acu tangere - To hit the mark

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No.10 Sqn RAF

No.10 Sqn was formed on 1st January 1915 (from elements of No. 1 Reserve Squadron) moving to to St Omer, France in July 1915. The squadron flew BE2C's in August 1915 in the role of spotters for the Indian Corps during the Battle of Loos. During the Battle of Arras in April 1917 the squadron carried out some bombing sorties. After the First World war had ended No.10 squadron served in Germany before returning back the the UK and was disbanded in the winter of 1919. No.10 squadron was reformed in January 1928 as a heavy bomber squadron nad based at Upper Heyford. The squadron was equipped with Hyderabads, and over the following 10 eyars the squadron flew an assortment of bombers, including Hinaidis, Virginias and Heyfords. In January 1937, the Squadron was re equipped with Whitley bombers and moved to Dishforth. For the first few months of the Second World War, No. 10 Squadron carried out leaflet-dropping missions over Germany and in late 1941 was re equipped with the Halifax bomber. In May 1945, the squadron moved form Bomber Command to Transport Command and was re equipped with Dakotas. After the war the squadron was disbanded in 1947 only to be bought back into service for the Belrin Airlift in 1948 again flying the Dakota. Once the emergency was over the squadron again was disbanded. The squadron was again reformed during the 1950's and equipped with Canberras and was involved in operation during the Suez Crisis and during 1958 to 1964 the squadron was again re equipped with Victors based at Cottesmore. In July 1966 No.10 squadron were to be come the first squadron to be equipped with VC10s and since then were involved in air to air refuelling and tanker transport. The squadron was disbanded in October 2005 at Brize Norton, but reformed once again on 1st July 2011 flying Airbus Voyager aircraft.

Battle Honours of No 10 Squadron

Western Front 1915-1918
Loos, Somme 1916
Arras, Somme 1918
Channel and North Sea 1940-1945
Norway 1940
Ruhr 1940-1945
Fortress Europe 1940-1944
German Ports 1940-1945
Biscay Ports 1940-1945
Berlin 1940-1945
Invasion Ports 1940
France and Germany 1944-1945
Norway 1944
Gulf 1991
Iraq 2003.

No.101 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 12th July 1917

Mens agitat molem - Mind over matter

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No.101 Sqn RAF

No 101 Squadron was formed on 12th July 1917 and based at South Farnborough. The squadron was commanded by Major The Hon L J E Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, and by the end of July the squadron was sent to France where 101 Squadron was to become the second specialist night-bomber unit in the Royal Flying Corps. 101 Squadron was equipped with the FE2b two-seat pusher bi-plane and on the 20th September 1917 began flying night bombing missions during the Battle of Menin Ridge. 101 1quadron continued night bombing missions during the 3rd Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Cambrai. 101 squadron attacked several German long-range night bomber airfields during February 1918 and these missions were among the first offensive counter air operations and up until the end of the war continued bombing missions. After the First World War 101 squadron were based in Belgium until March 1919 when returning to Britian and disbanded on the 31st December. No.101 squadron reformed on the 21st March 1928 at RAF Bircham Newton and in March 1929 the squadron was issued with the new bomber the Boulton and Paul Sidestrand. The squadron moved to RAF Andover iIn October 1929 where it remained until December 1934 when 101 squadron moved to RAF Bicester and issued with the the improved Boulton Paul Overstrand, which featured the first powered gun turret in RAF aircraft as well as othe rmodifications including more powerful engines. The Boulton Paul Overstrand is displayed on 101 Squadron's official badge. In June 1938 No 101 Squadron re-equipped with Bristol Blenheim and was stationed now at RAF West Raynham in May 1939, as part of No 2 Group, Bomber Command. When World War Two broke out 101 Squadron were stationed at RAF Brize Norton, but returned to West Raynham. It was not until the fall of France when the squadron became operational but suffered a set back when its officer commanding, Wg Cdr J H Hargroves, and his crew were lost on its first bombing mission on 5th July 1940. During the Battle of Britain 101 Squadron Blenhiems carried out bombing missions against the German barges in French ports as well as German airfields in France. Another OC 101 Squadron, Wg Cdr D Addenbrooke, was lost on the 3rd April while taking part in a raid on French ports just 3 days after taking command. 101 Squadron were re-equipped with the Vickers Wellington in April 1940 and were based at RAF Oakington and became part of No 3 Group bomber command. On the 24th July 101 Squadron lost its first Wellington on a raid against Brest. Ten Wellingtons of 101 Squadron took part in the first 1,000 bomber raid on Cologne, but losses began to mount and between July and September the Squadron lost 20 Wellingtons with 86 aircrew killed. In September 101 Squadron moved to RAF Holme-on-Spalding-Moor in Septmber 1942 and became the first operational Avro Lancaster squadron in No 1 Group.Bomber Command. 101 squadron moved to its final wartime base, RAF Ludford Magna on 15th June 1943. 101 Squadrons Lancasters took part in the raids on Hamburg and the raid on the secret German rocket site at Peenemunde. Over the winter of 1943-1944 No.101 squadron took part in the raid on Berlin but suffered high casualties. On the 31st March 1944, during the Nuremberg Raid, 101 Squadron lost 7 Lancasters and crews out of 26 dispatched. In the spring and summer of 1944 101 squadron attacked targets in France in preparation for and support of the allied invasion of Normandy. On D-Day, the squadron used ABC to jam nightfighter controllers to protect the British airborne landings. After D-Day 101 squadron continued raids on German cities with their last bombing mission on Berchtesgarden on 25th April 1945. 101 bomber squadron suffered the highest casualties of any Royal Air Force Squadron during the Second World War, losing 1176 aircrew killed in action. In October 1945, the Squadron moved to RAF Binbrook and later equipped with Avro Lincolns. In May 1952 101 squadorn became the first bomber squadron to receive the first Jet Bomber the English Electric Canberra B2 and in 1954 were stationed in Malaya carrying out bombing misisons against terrorist targets. In October 1956 during the Suez crisis to Malta for Operation MUSKETEER bombing raids against Egypt befroe being disbanded in February 1957 but in 1959 101 squadron was reformed and re equipped with the new Avro Vulcan B1 and the first squadorn to be armed with the British H Bomb, In 1961 101 squadron moved to RAF Waddington. In 1968 the squadron was equipped with the new Vulcan B2 . In 1982,101 Squadron Vulcans took part in Operation CORPORATE, during the Falklands War. A 101 Squadron crew carried out the first and last Operation BLACKBUCK Vulcan conventional bombing raids on Argentinean forces occupying Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. These 8,000 mile round trip missions required extensive use of Air to Air refuelling. After the Falklands war 101 squadron was equipped with VC10s and supplied fighter aircraft with air to air refuelling during all major conflicts form Bosnia, to Operation Desert Storm and continues today in this role.

No.102 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 9th August 1917
Fate : Disbanded 27th April 1963

Tentate et perficite - Attempt and achieve

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No.102 Sqn RAF

No. 102 squadron was formed at Hingham in Norfolk in August 1917 and was equipped with FE2b and FE2ds and operated as a night bomber squadron. 102 squadron went to France and operated behind German lines with their main targets being railway stations, railway lines, and railway trains, specialising in night attacks. In March 1919 after the war had finished, 102 squadron returned to Britain and disbanded on the 3rd of July 1919. On the 1st of October 1935, 102 squadron was reformed at RAF Worthy Down with the role again as a night bomber squadron, initially using Handley Page Heyford aircraft. In October 1938, 102 Squadron became part of the newly formed No.4 group of Bomber Command based at RAF Driffield and was now equipped with the new Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber. 102 squadron dropped leaflets in the night from 4th to 5th September 1939 over Germany. The squadron spent six weeks on convoy escort duty under the command of Coastal Command from 1st September until 10th October 1940 flying from Prestwick. 102 Squadron returned to bomber command and soon after Leonard Cheshire won his DSO. On the night of 12th/13th November 1940, Whitley V P5005 found itself slightly off course above the primary target due to problems with the intercom. Changing instead to a secondary target, some railway marshalling yards near Cologne, Pilot Officer Leonard Cheshire suddenly felt his aircraft rocked by a series of violent explosions that caused a severe fire to break out in the fuselage, filling the cockpit with acrid black smoke. As DY-N plunged some 2,000 feet, Cheshire managed to regain control and the fire was eventually extinguished. For bringing his aircraft safely home to 102 Squadrons base after being airborne for eight and half hours, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. 102 Squadron continued for the next thirty-six months to fly night sorties (including the thousand bomber raids) over Germany. In 1944 the squadron attacked rail targets in France in preparation for the invasion. In February 1942 the squadron was adopted by the island of Ceylon, which paid for aircraft for use by the squadron. The squadron transferred to Transport Command on 8th March 1945 and in September 1945 re-equipped with Liberators. The squadrons main role was the return of troops and POWs back from India and it disbanded on the 28th of February 1946. No.102 Squadron used the following aircraft : Fe2b from August 1917 to July 1919. Handley Page Heyford from October 1935 to May 1939 - specifically Mk.II from October 1935 to April 1937 and Mk.III from December 1935 to May 1939. Armstrong Whitworth Whitley from October 1938 to February 1942, specifically Mk.IV from October 1938 to January 1940 and Mk.V from November 1939 to February 1942. Handley Page Halifax from December 1941 to September 1945, specifically Mk.II from December 1941 to May 1944, Mk.III from May 1944 to September 1945 and Mk.VI from July 1945 to September 1945. Consolidated Liberator Mks.VI and VIII from September 1945 February 1946. English Electric Canberra B.2 from October 1954 to August 1956.

No.15 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st March 1915

Aim sure

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No.15 Sqn RAF

On 1st March 1915, the officers and men who made up No.1 Reserve Squadron and the Recruits Depot, all of whom were based at South Farnborough, Hampshire, were brought together to form No.15 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Initially, the new squadron was equipped with a diverse range of flying machines, including Henri and Maurice Farmans, Avros, Bleriots, Moranes and BE2c aircraft. Having relocated to an airfield at Hounslow, west of London, where the squadron was allowed time to work up to operational status, it was, on 11th May, relocated to another airfield at Swingate Down, to the east of Dover, on the Kent coast. On 23rd December 1915, No.15 Squadron, RFC, deployed to France for operational duties. Throughout its time on the Western Front, during the First World War, the squadron was engaged in observation and reconnaissance duties, initially using BE2c aircraft but later, during June 1916, upgrading to R.E.8s. The work undertaken by the squadron, in its reconnaissance role, was recognised by higher authority, on a number of occasions, in the form of telegrams or communiqus. On 1st April 1918, No.15 Squadron became part of the newly formed Royal Air Force, which came into being with the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. With the end of hostilities in November 1918, came a reduction in the fighting strength of the RAF and, although not disbanded as a number of squadrons were, No.15 was reduced to a cadre. The axe finally fell on the final day of December 1919, when No.15 Squadron was disbanded.

It was to be approximately five years before No.15s number plate was to be resurrected when, on 20th March 1924, No.15 Squadron was reformed as part of the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE), at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk. Over a period of ten years, No.15 Squadron completed 12,100 flying hours on over seventy-five different types of airframe. Over that same period, it also saw five changes of commanding officer.

On 1st June 1934, No.15 was re-designated as a new unit, equipped with Hawker Hart Mk.I aircraft, undertaking daylight operations flying as part of Bomber Command. The new C.O. was Squadron Leader Thomas Elmhirst, who secured permission for his squadron to change the number plate to Roman numerals and have the XV applied to the fuselage on all the squadrons aircraft. This decision was to have a lasting effect and was only interrupted by the Second World War. Thomas Elmhirst also gave thought to the fact the squadron should have its own badge and motto, both of which were approved, during 1935. In early 1936, the squadron re-equipped with Hawker Hind bomber aircraft. These machines remained in service with No.XV until 13th July 1938, when the unit converted to Fairey Battle bomber aircraft. It was with the latter aircraft that the squadron prepared for war when, on 27th August 1939, a state of emergency was declared.

History repeated itself when the Squadron returned to France on a war footing, but it was forced to return to England in order to re-equip with the Bristol Blenheim bomber. The new aircraft was initially seen as a wonder aircraft, but No.XV Squadron was virtually decimated in strength following the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940. With the Blenheim being designated unsuitable for the task, the squadron began converting to the Vickers Wellington bomber, designed by Barnes Wallace, on 7th November 1940. This was really a stop-gap measure as on 30th April 1941 No.XV began converting to the Short Stirling, four-engine, heavy bomber. During the next couple of years, night after night, the squadron carried the fight back to the enemy, enduring many losses and exploits of valour in the process. It participated in all the 1,000 bomber raids against Germany.

As 1943 drew to a close, No.XV prepared to continue the fight with new equipment. Having converted to the Avro Lancaster bomber in late December 1943, the squadron went operational in mid-January 1944 with its new aircraft. By the time the war came to an end, No.XV was flying Lancaster B.1 Specials, which were specially adapted to carry 22,000lb Grand Slam bombs. February 1947 saw another change of equipment when the squadron converted to the Avro Lincoln bomber, whilst based at RAF Wyton in Huntingdonshire. However, by the end of that same year, No.XV found itself deploying aircraft to Shallufa, Egypt, as part of Operation Sunrise.

Another change of occurred at the end of November 1950, when No.XV Squadron was disbanded but immediately reformed with Boeing B29 Washington bomber aircraft. It was during the Washington period, in March 1951, that the squadrons code letters LS, which it had been adopted during late 1939, were removed from the aircraft fuselages. The new scheme called for a natural metal finish, adorned with only the RAF roundel, fin flash and aircraft serial. With technology advancing all the time, No.XV entered a new phase in its history in June 1953, when it was declared fully operational flying English Electric Canberra bombers. During the next couple of years, the squadron continued to train and undertook many navigational and bombing exercises, which proved fruitful in 1956 when the Suez crises erupted. No.XV was deployed to Nicosia, as part of Operation Accumulate, on 23rd October. During the short period of fighting that followed, No.XV dropped a higher concentration of bombs than any other squadron. Following a cease-fire, the squadron returned to England where, on 15th April 1957, it was disbanded.

The 1st of September 1958 saw the re-formation of No.XV as a V-Bomber squadron, equipped with Handley Page Victor B.I bombers. These aircraft were not only adorned with the official RAF insignia described above, but were also permitted to carry the squadron badge, together with the Roman XV numerals. The squadron retained these aircraft until 1964 when it was again disbanded. For a period of five years No.XV Squadron ceased to exist. However, this changed on 1st October 1970, when the squadron number plate and badge were resurrected and No.XV was reformed at RAF Honnington, in Suffolk. Equipped with Blackburn S.2B Buccaneer aircraft, the squadron departed for RAF Laarbruch, where, during January 1971, it officially became part of Royal Air Force Germany. After thirteen years service with the squadron, the Buccaneers were replaced with Panavia Tornado, swing-wing, bombers. On 1st September 1983, No.XV became the first RAF Squadron in Germany to be equipped with this type of aircraft. During the latter quarter of 1990, No.XV had deployed two flights, totalling twelve crews, to Muharraq Air Base, on Bahrain Island, in readiness for operations against the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. During the following conflict, two aircraft crewed by XV Squadron personnel were shot down, resulting in the loss of Flt Lt Stephen Hicks and the capture of Flt Lts John Peters, John Nichol and Rupert Clark.

The squadron returned to RAF Laarbruch at the end of March 1991, where a number of awards, for service in the Gulf War were announced. Wing Commander John Broardbent was awarded a Distinguished Service Order, whilst Sqn Ldr Gordon Buckley and Sqn Ldr Nigel Risdale were both awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses. Senior Engineering Officer S/L Rob Torrence was awarded the Member of the British Empire. Following disbandment in January 1992, No.XV was reformed a few months later on 1st April, at RAF Honnington, where it took on the role of the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit. It was also granted the status of a Reserve Squadron. No.XV (R) Squadron remained at Honnington until 1st November 1993, when it re-located to RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, Scotland. During January 1998, it was re-designated as the Tornado GR1 Operational Conversion Unit and equipped with the up-graded Tornado GR4 variant. In 2011, just four years away from its 100th anniversary, No.XV (R) Squadron still operates from RAF Lossiemouth, providing refresher crews and new crews to the front line squadrons.

Text by kind permission of Martyn Ford Jones

No.31 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 11th October 1915

In caelum indicum primus - First into Indian skies

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No.31 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.7 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st May 1914

Per diem per noctem - By day and by night

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No.7 Sqn RAF

No.7 Squadron was formed 1st May 1914 at Farnborough as a Scout squadron, and went to France April 1915, equipped with the Vickers Gunbus. No.7 squadron saw service through the war with BE2c, RE5 and RE8 aircraft. The squadron pioneered the use of R/T (instead of normal W/T), using it operationally for the first time in October 1918. Disbanded at Farnborough on 31st December 1919 it reformed at Bircham Newton on 1st June 1923 equipped with Vickers Vimy bombers. These were replaced by the Vickers Virginia after moving to Worthy Down in April 1927. Between the wars No.7 squadron was equipped with various aircraft including the Handley Page Heyfords, Vickers Wellesleys and Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys and became the leading bomber squadron, winning the Laurence Minot Memorial Bombing Trophy more than any other squadron. At the outbreak of World War II, the squadron was equipped with Handley Page Hampdens, until August 1940, when it equipped with the RAF's first four engined bomber, the Short Stirling Mk I - becoming the first RAF squadron to be equipped with four engined bombers. The first raid by No.7 was 10th February 1941 on Rotterdam. The squadron settled down to a night bombing role, adding mine laying to its duties in 1942. Later with four other squadrons, it formed the nucleus of the new Pathfinder Force, its task to find and accurately mark targets with flares. In May 1943, the Stirling (which was handicapped by a low operational ceiling - it had to fly through flak rather than over it) was gradually replaced by the Avro Lancaster, which No.7 used in Peenemunde in August. From June1944 and until the end of the war, the squadron also undertook a daylight operational role in support of land forces in France and the low countries, and against V-1 and V-2 sites. No.7 squadron flew to Singapore in January 1947, and converted to Avro Lincolns, seeing action against Communist terrorists in Malay, during 'Operation Firedog'. Returning to UK, having won the Laurence Minot Memorial Bombing Trophy outright for the eighth time it was disbanded 1st January 1956. Reforming in November of the same year with the Vickers Valiant 'V' bomber. Disbanded on 30th September 1962, it was reformed in May 1970 at RAF St. Mawgan on target provision duties. Equipped with the English Electric Canberra, the squadron provided targets for the Army and Navy anti aircraft guns. They also provided silent targets for radar station practice. On 12th December 1981 the squadron was again disbanded, reforming soon after as the second operational Boeing Vertol Chinook helicopter Squadron on 2nd September 1982.

No.80 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st August 1917
Fate : Disbanded 28th September 1960

Nil nobis obstare potest - Nothing can stop us

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No.80 Sqn RAF

80 Squadron was formed at Montrose on the 10th August 1917, and saw action in France, specialising in the ground attack role. Remaining in Belgium after the war, they moved to Egypt in May 1919 where it was renumbered 56 the following year. 80 squadron re-formed at Kenley on 8th March 1937, equipped with Gloster Gauntlets and Gladiators. Posted to Egypt in May 1938, the squadron joined No.33 to form a Gladiator Wing for defence of the Suez canal. When Italy entered the war, 80 squadron was stationed at Amriya equipped with Gladiators and one Hurricane. In November 1940, the squadron moved to Greece and in February 1941, the squadron equipped with a mixture of Gladiators and Hurricanes was used on bomber escort duties. In March the Germans came to the aid of their Italian Allies and on 24th March the squadron was evacuated to Crete and then to Palestine. In November 1941 they returned to the Western Desert to take part in the relief of Tobruk. During 1942-43, the squadron was on defence duties and convoy escort work over the Eastern Mediterranean. Posted to Italy in January 1944 and then onto the UK, they were re-equipped with Spitfires Mk IX. 80 Squadron then took part in bomber escorts, sweeps and armed reconnaissance. They began to re-equip with the Hawker Tempest, and were used for anti V1 operations. 80 Squadron was posted to the continent to support the Arnhem landings and roamed over Germany in the ground attack role. They remained in Germany as part of the occupation force until 1949. It was then sent to Hong Kong on air defence duties equipped with Spitfires and Hornets between 1949 and 1955. Disbanded in 1955, 80 Squadron reformed in Germany as a P R Squadron equipped with Canberras PR7. They finally disbanded in September 1969.
Signatures for : Canberra
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Wing Commander Roland Bee Beamont CBE DSO DFC DL

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19 / 11 / 2001Died : 19 / 11 / 2001
Wing Commander Roland Bee Beamont CBE DSO DFC DL

One of World War IIs great characters, Bee flew Hurricanes with 87 Squadron, later leading a Tempest Wing. He had 8 victories plus a further 32 VIs destroyed. After the war he became a highly respected Chief Test Pilot.Wing Commander Roland Beamont, one of the RAFs top buzz bomb interceptors, was born in Enfield England on August 10, 1920. Educated at Eastborne College, Beamont accepted a short service commission with the Royal Air Force in 1938. He commenced flying in 1939 at the the No. 13 Reserve Flying School at White Waltham. His initial duty was with the Group Fighter Pool at St. Athan where he learned to fly the Hurricane. Beamont was soon posted with the No. 87 Squadron which was part of the Advanced Air Striking Force in France. Seeing action in both France and Belgium prior to the Allied withdrawl, Beamont rejoined 87 Squadron in England during the Battle of Britain. In the spring of 1941 Beamont was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after destroying five enemy aircraft. As Commanding Officer of 609 Squadron, Beamont pioneered both day and night ground attack missions utilizing the Typhoon. Beamont was credited with destroying 25 trains in a three month period. He was then made responsible for organizing and commanding the first Tempest Wing at Newchurch. Three days after D-Day Bearnont shot down an Me-109, marking the first aerial combat victory for the Hawker Tempest. In the summer of 1944 Beamont destroyed 32 buzz bombs prior to leading his wing to a Dutch Airfield at Volkel on the Continent. In October of 1944 Beamont was shot down during a ground attack mission over Germany, and he remained a prisoner of war until wars end. Following repatriation Beamont became an experimental test pilot with the Gloster Aircraft Company, which had developed the RAFs first jet aircraft. Turning down a permanent commission with the RAF, Beamont then joined English Electric Company in Wharton as the Chief Test Pilot for the B3/45 (Canberra) jet bomber program. He managed all prototype testing on the Canberra, and in the process set two Atlantic speed records. Later Beamont was involved with the supersonic P1/Lightning program, and became the first British pilot to fly at twice the speed of sound. From 1965 until 1970 he was a founding member of Britains highly succesful Saudi Arabian export program. For several years prior to his retirement in 1979, Beamont was Director of Operations for British Aerospace and Panavia where he was in charge of flight testing for the Tornado. Since his retirement Beamont has authored nine books, and published numerous magazine articles. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Scociety and an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in America. He died 19th November 2001.

Bee Beamont in the cockpit.

Flt Lt Don Briggs DFM

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Flt Lt Don Briggs DFM

62 ops as Flight Engineer on Lancasters of 156 Pathfinder Squadron. After the war he qualified as a pilot and flew all three types of V-Bomber operationally including the famous Vulcan XH558 as well as Canberras and Meteors. He flew the mission that dropped the third and last Atom Bomb on Christmas Island.

Squadron Leader A M Charlesworth DFC

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Squadron Leader A M Charlesworth DFC

Joined the RAF straight from school just before his 18th birthday in the summer of 1940 with the sole purpose of becoming a fighter pilot. After training, at age just 18, he was posted to RAF Ibsley, Hampshire, to 118 Sqdn, flying Spitfire 2Bs. Here he took part in his first scramble. After a month he was posted where the action was thickest, to a 11 Group Station, RAF Kenley, where he joined 602 Sqdn. His Squadron Commander was Al Deere, by this time a highly decorated ace; Al was 23 then and had already been shot down nine times. 602 Squadron was equipped with the more advanced Spitfire VBs which had two 20mm cannons, firing at 1200 rounds a minute, plus four very useful Browning 50mm machine guns firing at an even higher rate per minute. Al Deere was eventually posted to another squadron and Paddy Finucane took over - possibly the finest fighter pilot 1 came across, Max. Charlesworth continues, I remember him trying to get his 21st victory before his birthday and I often flew No. 2 to him. These were twitchy and tiring days when three sweeps a over occupied France day were the norm, to be met each time by several hundred Me 109s and Focke Wolf 190s, at our maximum range, where hectic dog fights ensued. We were normally outnumbered and a day could last from an early morning call at 3.30am to the last landing at 10.30pm in the semi-dark of the long summer of 1941. The average age of the approximately 30 pilots on the squadron was always about 19. During this period they were scrambled to search for and attack the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau (although they did not know it at the time) which, with escorting vessels had slipped up the Channel from Brest. The weather was awful and Max flew straight across the German battle cruiser Hipper thinking it was a Royal Navy cruiser. The Hipper opened up at Max with guns blazing but he was fortunate to escape with just a hole in one wing. In April 1942 Max was posted to a secret unit called MSFU (Merchant Service Fighter Unit) where he flew Hurricanes from catapults on merchant ships attached to convoys of anything up to fifty merchant men a time. The ships were mainly bringing supplies from America and taking them to Murmansk and Archangel, the hard-pressed Soviets and Gibraltar. Max recalls this as a highly physical and uncomfortable task, apart from also being very scary. The ships were constantly attacked by U Boat packs and aircraft. When they were in range of the latter, if they launched the Hurricane they knew they would ultimately have to bail out and hope to be picked up by either a friendly escort vessel or a sunken ships lifeboat. The North Atlantic route to Canada, north of Iceland and down the Greenland coast at an average sped of six knots in appalling seas was not our idea of a holiday cruise, Max vividly recalls. Having survived this posting Max was then moved to 124 Sq. at West Malting, Near Maidstone, Kent. The squadron was equipped with the much more powerful Spitfire IXs. Their task here was mainly escorting USAF and RAF bombing raids into Europe. With longrange tanks fitted they were able to reach Hamburg and Ludwigshafen; later on they were able to refuel from liberated bases in France. These ops. required them to fly as Top Cover at over 30,000 feet for up to three hours, where it was so cold the pilots returned to base hardly able to climb out of their cockpits. On February 9th 1945 Max was the Senior Flight Commander on 124 Squadron during their move to Cottishall. Here they adapted the Spitfire Ks to dive-bombing. The Spitfires carried either a 500lb. bomb under the fuselage and two 250lbs. under each wing or, a 90-gallon fuel tank under the fuselage and a 250lb. bomb under each wing. Their mission was to destroy V2 sites in Holland - mainly situated in small parks near the centre of the Hague. These V2 sites were launching rockets on London in ever increasing numbers. As well as attacking the V2 sites they were to destroy railway lines used by the Germans to transport V2s into the area. These were dangerous times as the V2s sites were heavily defended by 88mm guns down to 20mm. The flak was horrendous and we lost many recalls Max. As Senior Flight Commander, Max often led the squadron, though identifying targets from 12,000 feet was difficult. After the war Max was one of the first pilots to convert to the Meteor twin-engined jet, later to move on to Vampires and Canberras. His flying career was completed in June 1961 when he was posted to Warsaw, Poland as the Assistant Air Attache. He finally retired from the RAF in 1966.

Wing Commander Mac England DFC

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Wing Commander Mac England DFC

‘Mac’ England joined the RAF in 1938 and after qualifying, posted as a pilot into Lancaster’s. In 1941 he was transferred from Bomber command to fighter Command-flying Spitfires on coastal sweeps. After a short period of time on Spitfires he was transferred back again to bomber Command, and in 1943 completed 30 Operations on Lancaster’s. When he retired in 1974 he had flown a total of 36 different aircraft including Hunters and Canberras.

Squadron Leader Dick Haven

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Squadron Leader Dick Haven

Joining the RAF in 1951 he was a pilot on Canberras, Valiants and Vulcan B.2s serving with 27, 12, 101, 44, 9 and 35 Squadrons including time as Chief Flying Instructor.

Commander David Hobbs MBE RN

Click the name above to see prints signed by Commander David Hobbs MBE RN
Commander David Hobbs MBE RN

Commander David Hobbs MBE RN joined the Royal Navy in 1964 and since qualifying as a pilot, flew both fixed and rotary wing aircraft “to the deck”, including Gannet AEW aircraft, Wessex Commando helicopters and Canberra ECCM aircraft. He has served on the aircraft carriers, Victorious, Centaur, Hermes, Bulwark, Albion and two Ark Royals (the 1955 and 1985 ships) with 849, 845, 846 Naval Air Squadrons and 360 RN/RAF Joint Squadron. While serving in the Director General Aircraft (Naval) Department, he was responsible for developing the visual and electronic recovery aids for the Sea Harrier. He also organised the flying trials that cleared the Invincible class and Hermes to operate the modern generation of aircraft at sea.He has been Curator and Deputy Director of the Fleet Air Arm Museum at RNAS Yeovilton since leaving the active list of the Royal Navy in 1998. After a lifetime interest in naval history, he is the author of numerous books, contributes regularly to a variety of international publications and has presented papers at naval historical symposia in Australia, France, New Zealand, the United States and Great Britain. He is an adviser to the naval Staff on a range of aircraft carrier matters.

Group Captain Drane Lowe, CBE DFC AFC

Click the name above to see prints signed by Group Captain Drane Lowe, CBE DFC AFC
Group Captain Drane Lowe, CBE DFC AFC

Joining the RAF in August 1935 he completed pilot training and was posted to 49 Sqn flying Hawker Hinds as a light bomber. At the outbreak of war he took part in the early bombing raids over France, flying Hampdens and then Wellingtons on missions over occupied Europe. Fully operational until mid 1941, he was then posted to OTU at Cottesmore and Finningley as an instructor. After a long and distinguished career, including a spell flying Canberras, he retired from the RAF in 1965.

Flight Lieutenant Rusty Russell

Click the name above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Rusty Russell
Flight Lieutenant Rusty Russell

Serving with 31 Sqn on Photo Reconnaissance on Canberras he later moved to 230 OCU and 35 Sqn flying Vulcan B.2s and was a Captain at the height of the Cold War.

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.

H. E. Tappin

Click the name above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of H. E. Tappin

8 / 1 / 2007Died : 8 / 1 / 2007
H. E. Tappin

Started flying, as an N.C.O. pilot, with the R.A.F.V.R. at No.3 E.& R.F.T.S. run by Air Service Training, at Hamble near April 1937. Awarded Pilot's Flying Badge (wings) in May 1938. Moved to 26 E.& R.F.T.S. run by Marshalls Flying School at Kidlington, near Oxford in September 1938. Flying Instructor's Course, November/December 1938 Started instructing 30th December 1938. School at-Kidlington closed on outbreak of hostilities, staff moved to 22 E.F.T.S. at Carpbridge. Instructed at Cambridge until April 1941, when posted to 52 O.T.U. (Hurricane) at Debden. Commissioned December 1940. 52 O.T.U. April/May 1941. Posted to 3 Squadron (Hurricane) at Martlesham Heath 2nd June 1941, became Flight Commander in March 1942. Posted to 534 Squadron (Turbinlite) as Hurricane Flight Commander September 1942. Tutbinlite Project abandoned February 1943,,posted to 157 Squadron (Mosquito) at Castle Camps. Became Flight Commander July 1943. Posted from 157 at Predannack, March 1944 to 51 O.T.U. at Cranfield and Twinwood Farm, near Bedford, as W/Cdr Flying. January 1945 posted to Mediterranean to command 108 Squadron (Beaufighter), to learn on arrival that the Squadron was to be disbanded. I spent a short period with 334 (Special Duties) Wing at Brindisi, in Southern Italy, and in March 1945 was posted to Command 256 Squaron (Mosquito) with the Desert Air Force at Forli, iii-Northern Italy. In September 1945 the Squadron moved to Egypt,, from where I returned home in December of that year. In February 1946 1 returned to Cambridge to continue my work with Marshalls as a civilian pilot, where the work was varied and interesting, covering flying-instruction, charter work and testflying on a variety of aircraft, including the Vampire, Venom, Canberra, Valiant, Viscount and Ambassador. I left Cambridge in January 1961 to instruct at The College of Air Training at Hamble, which had been set up by B.E.A. and B.O.A.C., (taking over the Air Service Training facilities) to train new pilots ?,rom scratch, as the supply of ex-service pilots was running short. It proved to be very successful. Retired from Hamble January 1972. Service Numbers: N.C.O. 740167. Commissioned Officer 89304. D.F.C. September 1942 Bar to D.F.C. April 1944. Died 8th January 2007.

H E Tappin signing the print - High Patrol - by Graeme Lothian

H E Tappin signing the print - Fighter Pilot of the RAF - by Graeme Lothian

Air Commodore Roger Topp AFC 2 bars

Click the name above to see prints signed by Air Commodore Roger Topp AFC 2 bars
Air Commodore Roger Topp AFC 2 bars

Commanded Royal Air Force Coltishall. Commandant of the Aircraft & Armament Experimental Establishment, Boscome Down. Commanding Officer and acrobatic team leader of No. 111 Squadron joined the R.A.F. in 1943 and learned to fly in Canada. When he returned, to England in 1944 there was a surplus of powered aircraft pilots so he transferred to the Glider Pilot Regiment. On March 2, 1945, he flew a Horsa glider carrying jeep, guns and troops in the airborne crossing of the Rhine. In 1947 he joined No.98 Squadron, flying Mosquitos in Germany, becoming a flight commander and instrument flying examiner for his Wing. He was awarded the Air Force Cross in 1950. In that year he took the course at the Empire Test Pilots School, and remained at Farnborough on the staff of the Royal Aircraft Establishment. He undertook flying tests of various experimental armament installations, including guided weapons and the new 30 mm. Aden gun, four of which formed the Hunters armament. He was a leading acrobatic demonstration pilot on the Canberra twin-jet bomber, flying before the Emperor of Ethiopia and the Shah of Persia during their visits to Britain. In 1954, with another pilot, Squadron Leader Topp shared the 100 hours intensive flight testing of the Comet jet air liner undertaken from Farnborough. He was awarded a Bar to the A.F.C. in 1955 and a second Bar in January 1958 for work with the acrobatic team.

Wing Commander Ken Wallis

Click the name above to see prints signed by Wing Commander Ken Wallis

1 / 9 / 2013Died : 1 / 9 / 2013
Wing Commander Ken Wallis

Kenneth Horatio Wallis was born on April 26 1916 at Ely, Cambridgeshire, where his father ran a cycle and motorcycle shop, and was educated at The Kings School. Kenneth had limited vision in his right eye and as a child wore an eye patch and in 1936 this defect led to his rejection by the RAF. Undeterred, he paid £14 to obtain a private flying licence which required only a certificate signed by his GP, obtaining the licence after just 12 hours flying a Gypsy Moth. Having failed another test for the RAF in 1938, when he tried again after the outbreak of war Wallis decided to cheat. While the doctors back was turned, he sneaked a look with his good eye at the bottom line of letters on the test chart and passed. After flying Westland Lysander patrols with No 268 Squadron, in 1941 Wallis transferred to Bomber Command, flying Wellingtons with No 103 Squadron, based at RAF Elsham Wolds in north Lincolnshire, attacking heavily defended targets in the Ruhr. Though he survived 28 missions over cities in Germany he gained something of a reputation for being accident prone, earning the nickname Crasher. Returning from Frankfurt in September 1941, Wallis found his airfield blanketed by fog. He made a number of abortive attempts to land but, with his fuel tanks almost dry, he climbed to allow his crew to bail out. After they had done so, his parachute snagged on his seat " he finally got clear at very low level, and his parachute opened only seconds before he hit the ground. After a tour as a bombing instructor, Wallis left for Italy and flew bombing operations with No 37 Squadron. Having survived another crash when his aircraft was struck by lightning, he applied to fly Mosquito bombers at night " a mistake, as it meant that his night vision was tested. All hell let loose " You have been flying with a bomber crew and you cant see properly!’ he recalled being told. But the RAF ophthalmologist was more positive. He said, Wallis, I would rather have a man with a bit of fire in his belly who wants to fly than some of the perfect specimens I get here who do not. Wallis remained in the post-war RAF and specialised as an armament officer, among other things solving the problems of loading bombs efficiently on to the RAFs first jet bomber, the Canberra, and testing the Mach 2 " later known as the Lightning. During a two-year posting to the USAFs Strategic Air Command armament and electronics division in the 1950s, he flew B-36s laden with nuclear bombs over the North Pole and participated in powerboat races in vessels that he made from redundant parts, winning the 56-mile Missouri Marathon. He also set about building his first autogyro. He returned to Britain to be the Command Armament Officer at Fighter Command. Wallis demonstrated his autogyros at numerous RAF air shows before leaving the RAF in 1964 in the rank of wing commander. He moved to Norfolk, hoping that he would be able to put them into commercial production for reconnaissance, research and development, surveillance and military purposes. But it never happened. Instead, during the 1970s, he worked with a company that pioneered a type of multi-spectral aerial photography that could detect where bodies were buried, as a result of which he was called in to help in several high-profile missing-person searches. He also flew an autogyro at 18,976ft without oxygen; became the oldest pilot to set a world record when, aged 81, he accidentally achieved the fastest climb to 3,000ft, in seven minutes 20 seconds; and he set a world speed record for an autogyro of 129.1mph at the age of 89. kenneth Wallis never found a commercial manufacturer for his autogyros, although he was delighted when the James Bond film producer Cubby Broccoli recognised its dramatic potential: Wallis and his autogyro, Little Nellie, were duly dispatched to the set of You Only Live Twice, where Wallis stood in for Sean Connery in a famous sequence in which Bond, in a rocket-firing autogyro, fights baddies in orthodox helicopters, zipping around an active volcano " Wallis received many national and international awards, was appointed MBE in 1996. Wing Commander Kenneth Wallis, born April 26 1916, died September 1 2013.

Aviation History Timeline : 24th March
24March1917Renatus Theiller, a WW1 Ace with 11.00 victories, died on this day
24March1918Maurice Mealing, a WW1 Ace with 12.00 victories, died on this day
24March1941Oberleutnant of the Reserves Hans Buchholz of 1./Kampfgeschwader 40 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1942John Newkirk, a WW2 Ace with 10.50 victories, died on this day
24March1943Feldwebel Walter Pilz of 5./Kampfgeschwader 55 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Harvey Cook, a WW1 Ace with 7.00 victories, died on this day
24March1943Hauptmann Joachim Langbehn of 5./Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Hauptmann Kurt Benz of Kampfgruppe z.b.V. 500 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Hauptmann Ludwig Wagenfeld of 3. (F)/Aufklrungs-Gruppe 122 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Hauptmann Siegfried Scholz of 1./Kampfgeschwader 100 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberfeldwebel Albert Spieth of 3./Kampfgeschwader 51 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberfeldwebel Walter Brandt of I./Jagdgeschwader 77 was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberfeldwebel Willi Nemitz of 4./Jagdgeschwader 52 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberleutnant Eduard Brogsitter of II./Kampfgeschwader 76 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberleutnant Eitel-Albert Barth of 4./Kampfgeschwader 55 was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberleutnant Friedrich Harries of 7./Kampfgeschwader 76 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberleutnant Gerhard Stamp of 1.(K)/Lehrgeschwader 1 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberleutnant Horst Rudat of 2./Kampfgeschwader 55 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberleutnant Werner Franken of I./Kampfgeschwader 26 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberleutnant Werner Oberlnder of 2./Kampfgeschwader 55 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberleutnant Wolfgang Bwing-Treuding of 10./Jagdgeschwader 51 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1943Oberst Fritz Krause of Flak-Regiment 91 was awarded the Knight's Cross
24March1945 Charles Brantley of 332nd Fighter Group, 100th Fighter Squadron shot down a Me262
24March1945 Earl Lane of 332nd Fighter Group, 100th Fighter Squadron shot down a Me262
24March1945 Forrest Keene of 31st Fighter Group, 308th Fighter Squadron shot down a Me262
24March1945 Kenneth Smith of 31st Fighter Group, 308th Fighter Squadron shot down a Me262
24March1945 Raymond Leonard of 31st Fighter Group, 308th Fighter Squadron shot down a Me262
24March1945 Roscoe Brown of 332nd Fighter Group, 100th Fighter Squadron shot down a Me262
24March1945 William Daniel of 31st Fighter Group, 308th Fighter Squadron shot down a Me262
24March1945 William Wilder of 31st Fighter Group, 308th Fighter Squadron shot down a Me262
24March1945Former British Battle of Britain pilot, Sgt. C. A. Chew of 17 Squadron, was Killed.
24March1978Former British Battle of Britain pilot, W/O E. Mayne of 74 Squadron, Passed away.
24March1997Knight's Cross recipient Herbert Bauer of 3./Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 died on this day

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