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Country : UK
Founded : 1st August 1917
Disbanded 19th December 1975
Codes : , VY, NO,
Noctu diuque venamur - We hunt by day and night
No. 85 Squadron was formed on the 1st of August 1917 at Uphaven. Shortly afterwards the squadron moved to Mousehold Heath nea Norwich under the command of Major R A Archer. The squadron transferred to Hounslow in November 1917 and in March 1918 received its new commander Major William Avery Bishop VC, DSO, MC. On 1st April 1918 No.85 Squadron was transferred into the new Royal Air Force and went to France in May1918 flying the Sopwith Dolphin and later SE5A's. 85 Squadron duties were fighter patrols and ground attack sorties over the western front until the end of the war. On 21st June 1918 Major Edward Mannock DSO MC became commanding officer. On the 26th July 1918 during a patrol with Lt DC Inglis over the front line Major Mannock failed to return and on the 18th of July 1919 Major Mannock was awarded a posthumous VC. No. 85 Squadron had 99 victories during their stint on the western front, returning to the UK in February 1919, and being disbanded on the 3rd of July 1919. 85 Squadron was reformed on June 1st, 1938, as part of A Flight of 87 Squadron based at RAF Debden commanded by Flight Lieutenant D E Turner. The squadron started training on the Gloster Gladiator until the 4th of September when Hawker Hurricanes were supplied. On the outbreak of World War Two the squadron moved to Boos as part of the Air Component of the BEF 60th Fighter Wing, and their Hurricanes were given the role to support the squadrons of Bristol Blenheims and Fairey Battles. By 1st November 85 Squadron's Hurricanes were moved to Lille Seclin. 85 Squadron scored its first victory of World War Two when Flight Lieutenant R.H.A. Lee attacked an He111 which crashed into the Channel, exploding on impact while on patrol over the Boulogne area. In May 1940, during the German advance, 85 Squadron were in combat constantly and over an 11 day period the squadron confirmed 90 enemy kills. When their operating airfields were overun the squadron's last remaining three Hurricanes returned to England. The squadron lost 17 pilots (two killed, six wounded and nine missing). During the Battle of Britian the squadron took part in the conflict over southern England and in October the Squadron moved to Yorkshire and were given the new role of night fighter patrols. 85 Squadron continued in the night fighter role for most of the war, with only a brief period as bomber support as part of 100 group.
|No.85 Sqn Aviation Art Collection|
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|Aces for : No.85 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.|
|William Billy Bishop||72.00||The signature of William Billy Bishop features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Branse A Burbridge||21.00||The signature of Branse A Burbridge features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|John Cunningham||20.00||The signature of John Cunningham features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|John W Warner||8.00|
|William Henry Hodgson||6.00|
|Lawrence K Callahan||5.00|
|Aircraft for : No.85 Sqn RAF|
|A list of all aircraft known to have been flown by No.85 Sqn RAF. A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.|
Manufacturer : Bristol
Production Began : 1940
Number Built : 5564
BRISTOL BEAUFIGHTER The Bristol Beaufighter was a Torpedo Bomber and had a crew of two. with a maximum speed of 330mph and a ceiling of 29,000 feet. maximum normal range of 1500 miles but could be extended to 1750 miles. The Bristol Beaufighter carried four 20mm cannon in the belly of the aircraft and upto six .303in browning machine guns in the wings. it could also carry eight 3 -inch rockets, 1605 lb torpedo or a bomb load of 1,000 lb. The Bristol Beaufighter first flew in July 1939 and with some modifications entered service with the Royal Air Force in July 1940. In the winter of 1940 - 1941 the Beaufighter was used as a night fighter. and in March 1941 the aircraft was used at Coastal Command as a long range strike aircraft. and in 1941, the Beaufighter arrived in North Africa and used as a forward ground attack aircraft. The Bristol Beaufighter was used also in India, Burma and Australia. A total of 5,564 Beaufighters were built until production in Britain finished in 1945, but a further 364 were built in Australia for the Australian Air Force
Manufacturer : Sopwith
Full profile not yet available.
Manufacturer : Douglas
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 : De Havilland
Production Began : 1940
Retired : 1955
Number Built : 7781
Used as a night fighter, fighter bomber, bomber and Photo-reconnaissance, with a crew of two, Maximum speed was 425 mph, at 30,300 feet, 380mph at 17,000ft. and a ceiling of 36,000feet, maximum range 3,500 miles. the Mosquito was armed with four 20mm Hospano cannon in belly and four .303 inch browning machine guns in nose. Coastal strike aircraft had eight 3-inch Rockets under the wings, and one 57mm shell gun in belly. The Mossie at it was known made its first flight on 25th November 1940, and the mosquito made its first operational flight for the Royal Air Force as a reconnaissance unit based at Benson. In early 1942, a modified version (mark II) operated as a night fighter with 157 and 23 squadron's. In April 1943 the first De Haviland Mosquito saw service in the Far east and in 1944 The Mosquito was used at Coastal Command in its strike wings. Bomber Commands offensive against Germany saw many Mosquitos, used as photo Reconnaissance aircraft, Fighter Escorts, and Path Finders. The Mosquito stayed in service with the Royal Air Force until 1955. and a total of 7781 mosquito's were built.
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.
|Signatures for : No.85 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.|
William Billy Bishop
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of William Billy Bishop
| William Billy Bishop |
William Avery Bishop. Born 8th February 1894, died September 1956 aged 62. Air Marshal William Avery Bishop, better known as Billy Bishop (his awards being VC, CB, DSO and Bar, MC, DFC, ED ) was the top Canadian Fighter ace of World War One, with 72 Victories which made him the top overall Ace from the British Empire. Billy Bishop joined the Mississauga Horse as an Officer when the war broke out in 1914, but due to illness he did not go with the regiment to Europe. Once he recovered from pneumonia he transferred to the 8th Canadian Mounted Rifles and was stationed in London, Ontario. On the 9th of June 1915 the regiment left for Britain. In July 1915 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as an Observer. After training he was moved to France at Boisdinghem airfield near st Omer on the 1st January 1916 - he was an observer on RE7 reconnaissance aircraft. On one mission he injured his knee and was sent back to Britain. On his recovery he was accepted in for Pilot training. Once he was awarded his wings he requested to be transferred to France and in March 1917 was posted to 60 Squadron at Filescamp Farm near Arras. He flew the Nieuport 17 Fighter aircraft. Billy Bishop's first victory was on the 25th March which was an Albatros D.III. He won his Victoria Cross on the 2nd June 1917 when he flew a solo mission behind enemy lines to attack a German Aerodrome. He claimed to have shot down three German aircraft who were about to take off to engage him and destroyed many others on the ground. His Victoria Cross was the only VC awarded without requiring witnesses. His VC was Gazetted on the 11th August 1917. For most conspicuous bravery, determination, and skill. Captain Bishop, who had been sent out to work independently, flew first of all to an enemy aerodrome; finding no machines about, he flew on to another aerodrome about three miles southeast, which was at least 12 miles the other side of the line. Seven machines, some with their engines running, were on the ground. He attacked these from about fifty feet, and a mechanic, who was starting one of the engines, was seen to fall. One of the machines got off the ground, but at a height of 60 feet, Captain Bishop fired 15 rounds into it at very close range, and it crashed to the ground. A second machine got off the ground, into which he fired 30 rounds at 150 yards range, and it fell into a tree. Two more machines then rose from the aerodrome. One of these he engaged at a height of 1,000 feet, emptying the rest of his drum of ammunition. This machine crashed 300 yards from the aerodrome, after which Captain Bishop emptied a whole drum into the fourth hostile machine, and then flew back to his station. Four hostile scouts were about 1,250 feet above him for about a mile of his return journey, but they would not attack. His machine was very badly shot about by machine gun fire from the ground. He went back to Canada as a hero in 1917 and helped the morale of the Canadian public. He again returned to France in April 1918 and was promoted to the rank of major and given the command of no 85 Squadron (Flying Foxes). The squadron was equipped with SE5a scouts and in this aircraft Bishop scored a further three victories. The Canadian Government was getting concerned if Bishop was killed what effect that may have on the Canadian morale so he was ordered back to Britain, to organise the Canadian Flying Corps. On the 5th August he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and became Officer Commanding-designate of the Canadian Air Force Section of the general Staff. Bishop died in his sleep while in Florida on the 11th September 1956 and is buried in Owen Sound Ontario at greenwood Cemetery.
Wing Commander Branse Burbridge DSO* DFC*
Click the name above to see prints signed by Wing Commander Branse Burbridge DSO* DFC*
| Wing Commander Branse Burbridge DSO* DFC* |
Posted to 85 Squadron on night-fighters in October 1941, Branse Burbridge flew Havocs on his first tour, scoring just a single claim, but when he returned to 85 Squadron for a second tour - this time on Mosquitos, he was far more successful. During the period of the build up to the invasion of Normandy, and after, together with his radar navigator, Bill Skelton, he claimed 21 victories in a ten month spell. In June 1944 he also shot down three V-1s. With his final air victory, in January 1945, he passed the total set by John Cats Eyes Cunningham to become the highest scoring RAF night fighter Ace of the war.
Flight Lieutenant John Jock Cairns
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant John Jock Cairns
| Flight Lieutenant John Jock Cairns |
Joined the RAFVR in May 1939 and was called up at the outbreak of war as a navigator. He completed his flying training by the early spring of 1941 and spent a brief period with 224 Squadron, Coastal Command before volunteering for Special Duties as a Navigator/Radio Leader. During training 'Jock' Cairns was crewed with an experienced pilot and posted to the prestigious 85 Squadron, Fighter Command and together with his pilot Sq/Ldr Simon Maude, DFC, achieved the destruction of a Dornier 217 during the Canterbury blitz. After six months rest from operations, John took over as the Navigator/Radio Leader of the Squadron a short and lively tour intruding against Luftwaffe night-fighter airfields and interdiction of rail traffic during which five locomotives were destroyed. After another six months, Fl/Lt Cairns re-crewed with Fl/Lt John Hall and they enjoyed a very successful tour with 488 Squadron, RNZAF in 2nd TAF and were both credited with eight victories and each awarded the DFC with Bar.
Group Captain John Cunningham CBE DSO DFC AE DL FRAeS
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Group Captain John Cunningham CBE DSO DFC AE DL FRAeS
| Group Captain John Cunningham CBE DSO DFC AE DL FRAeS |
John Cunningham joined the RAF in 1935 with 604 Squadron. At the outbreak of World War Two he was based at North Weald flying Blenheims on day escort and night fighter operations. In September 1940 he converted onto Beaufighters equipped with radar, the first aircraft that made night fighting really possible. In November he had the Squadrons first successful night combat. He took command of 604 Squadron in August 1941. After a period at HQ81 Group, he was posted on his second tour to command 85 Squadron equipped with Mosquitoes. In March 1944 with 19 night and 1 day victory he was posted to HQ11 Group to look after night operations. The most famous Allied night fighter Ace of WWII - 20 victories. He died 21st July 2002. Born in 1917, Group Captain John Cunningham was the top-scoring night fighter ace of the Royal Air Force. Cunningham joined the RAF in 1935 as a Pilot Officer. He learned to fly in the Avro 504N and was awarded his wings in 1936. While assigned to the Middlesex Squadron Auxiliary based at Hendon, Cunningham received instruction in the Hawker Hart prior to moving on the Hawker Demon. The Demon was a two-seat day and night fighter. Cunningharns squadron was mobilized in 1938 following the Czechoslovak crisis. His No. 604 unit was moved to North Weald. Later in 1938 his unit returned to Hendon and was reequipped with the more modern Blenheim 1 fighter. In August of 1939 the unit was again mobilized and returned to North Weald. The Squadron was primarily utilized to provide daylight air cover for convoys. Lacking radar the Blenheim was relatively useless as a night fighter. In September of 1940 the unit was moved to Middle Wallop and the first Bristol Beaufighters arrived. The Beatifighter had a modestly effective, although often unreliable radar. It was an excellent aircraft with reliable air-cooled engines and four 20mm cannons. Cunningham attained the units first night victory in the Beaufighter, and his tally rose steadily. He was promoted to Wing Commander of 604 Squadron in August of 1941. Cunningham completed his first combat tour of duty in mid-1942 with a total of 15 victories. He was then posted to H.Q. 81 Group, which was an operational training group under the Fighter Command. In January of 1943 Cunningham was transferred to command of No. 85 Squadron which was equipped with the Mosquito. With the higher speed of the Mosquito, Cunningham was successful at downing Fw-190s, something impossible in the slower Beaufighter. Cunningham completed his second tour in 1944 with a total of nineteen victories at night and one by day. He was promoted to Group Captain at that time, and was assigned to H.Q. 11 Group. Cunninghams radar operator Sqd. Ldr. Jimmy Rawnsley participated in most of Cunninghams victories. The 604 Squadron was disbanded in 1945, but in 1946 Cunningham was given the honor of reforming the Squadron at Hendon - flying the Spitfire. Cunningham left the RAF in 1946 and joined the De Havilland Aircraft Co. at Hatfield as its Chief Test Pilot. Cunningham had a long and distinguished career in the British aviation industry, retiring from British Aerospace in 1980. Cunningham was appointed OBE in 1951 and CBE in 1963. He was awarded the DSO in 1941 and Bars in 1942 and 1944; the DFC and Bar in 1941, also the Air Efficiency Award (AE). He also held the Soviet Order of Patriotic War 1st Class and the US Silver Star. Group Capt John Cunningham died at the age of 84 on the 21st July 2002.
Squadron Leader John Hall, DFC*
Click the name above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader John Hall, DFC*
| Squadron Leader John Hall, DFC* |
Squadron Leader John Hall, DFC and Bar (85 Sqn. Pilot) joined the RAF in 1940 and after gaining his wings, followed by operational training at Cranfield, near Bedford, he joined 85 Squadron, then stationed at Hunsdon, in the North Weald sector. At that time, 85 Squadron flew twin engine Havocs, a night fighter version of the American light bomber, the Boston, with the radar operator where the Boston's gun turret would have been and 12 machine guns in the nose, in place of the Boston's navigator. The radar then was the Mark 4, not very reliable, and with a very limited range. During 1942, the Squadron re-equipped with the much faster and more maneuverable Mosquito, with a scanner in the nose for the infinitely more effective Mark 8 radar and 4 cannon, [instead of the Havoc's 12 machine guns] After a rest from operations, during which he taught budding night fighter pilots air gunnery, John Hall teamed up with John Cairns as his navigator/ radar operator and they joined 488 New Zealand Night Fighter Squadron at Bradwell Bay on the Essex coast, destroying three German bombers during the mini-blitz of early 1944. The Squadron flew over the D-day beaches from Zeals, and Colerne in Wiltshire, before moving at the end of 1944 to Amiens Glisy in northern France and then to Gilze Rijen in Holland, where it celebrated VE Day. During this time Hall shot down a further 5 German aircraft over France and Germany.
W O Donald J Jimmy Lowrie
Click the name above to see prints signed by W O Donald J Jimmy Lowrie
| W O Donald J Jimmy Lowrie |
Joined the RAF in late 1941. His initial training was at Booker and Rhodesia. He qualified as a pilot in November 1942 before returning to the UK for AFU training at Perton until July 1942. The next six months was spent training aircrew on A.I. (Aircraft Interception). After this he was posted to 54 OTU Charterhall, where he crewed up with F/Sgt. Tom Davie. Jimmy then trained on Beaufighters based at 85 Squadron, West Malling, from March to May 1944. Thence to 239 Squadron, West Raynham on the formation of 100 Group. Jimmy completed 34 sorties before returning to 62 OTU to train more aircrew on A.I.
Squadron Leader Doug Nicholls DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Doug Nicholls DFC
| Squadron Leader Doug Nicholls DFC |
A pre-war RAFVR pilot, in June 1940 Nicholls converted to Hurricanes at 7 OTU, Hawarden. Nicholls flew during the Battle of Britain with 85 and 242 and in September joined 151 Squadron.at Digby On September 30, 1940, he shared in the destruction of a Ju 88 and returned to Digby with his Hurricane P 5182 severely damaged by return fire. Nicholls spent only a brief time with 242 but Bader made a considerable impression. After a hard day Nicholls remembers Bader taking off his legs and dressing the stumps with lotion and talcum powder. Few people realise, Nicholls feels, just how much strain combat flying with artificial legs must have been. Later in the war Nicholls flew Hurricanes with 258 Squadron in the Far East to Seletar airfield, Singapore and flew their first operation on January 31 1942. On February 10 1942 the three surviving Hurricanes of 258 were withdrawn to Palembang with the fifteen surviving pilots, six remained behind to fly with 605 Squadron, with Nicholls being one of the nine evacuated from Java to Ceylon. 258 Squadron was reformed at Ratmalana on March 1 1942 and Nicholls rejoined it. Awarded the DFC (19.5.44) he remained with 258 until August 1944, when he was posted to HQ 224 Group, Burma, as Squadron Leader Tactics.
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Vivian Snell
| Vivian Snell |
Battle of Britain Hurricane pilot with No.501 Sqn. Shot down over Cranbrook on 25th October 1940 while flying Hurricane P2903, bailing out uninjured. During his service life Vivian flew the Fairy Battle with 103 Squadron, later flying the Hawker Hurricane with 151 and 501(F) Squadrons during the Battle of Britain in 1940. Vivian shot down a Bf109E on the 25th October 1940 and was then shot down himself while piloting Hurricane Mk.I serial N2438. After having minor wounds attended to he returned to his squadron and flew through the rest of the Battle of Britain. In 1941 he was flying the American built Douglas DB7 Havoc night fighter with number 85(F) Squadron. He commanded his own Mosquito Squadron towards the end of the War. Vivian was released from the RAF in 1946 with the rank of Wing Commander.
Flight Lieutenant ARF Thompson DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Flight Lieutenant ARF Thompson DFC
| Flight Lieutenant ARF Thompson DFC |
Anthony Robert Fletcher Thompson was born on October 14th 1920. He joined the RAFVR about July 1939 as an airman under training pilot. Called up on September 1st, he completed his training at 15 EFTS and 5 FTS Sealand and arrived at 6 OTU on September 10th 1940. After converting to Hurricanes, he joined 85 (F) Squadron at Church Fenton on the 29th and moved to 249 (F) Squadron at North Weald in Essex on October 17th 1940. Thompson shared in the destruction of a Junkers Ju88 on October 28th and destroyed a Bf109 on the 30th. In May 1941 No.249 Squadron went to Malta and flew off of HMS Ark Royal in two groups on the 21st. On August 5th Tommy Thompson joined the Malta Night Fighting Defence Unit then formed at Ta Kali. He damaged an Italian BR20 at night on November 11th. The unit became 1435 (Night Fighter) Flight on December 23rd 1941. Thompson was posted to 71 OTU Gordons Tree, Sudan on March 3rd 1942. He returned to operations on October 1st joining 73 (F) Squadron in the Western Desert. In mid-November he was appointed A Flight Commander. At the end of December Thompson was posted to Cairo and in February he went to 206 Group as a test Pilot. He was awarded the DFC (23.03.43). On March 10th 1944 Thompson was seconded to BOAC and he took his release in Cairo on January 26th 1946 holding the rank of Flight Lieutenant. The following day he signed a contract with BOAC as a Captain. He retired from British Airways on October 14th 1975. Sadly, he died on 9th March 2008.
Captain Tommy Thompson DFC JP BOAC/BA
Click the name above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Captain Tommy Thompson DFC JP BOAC/BA
| Captain Tommy Thompson DFC JP BOAC/BA |
Anthony Robert Fletcher Thompson - Tommy Thompson was born on October 14th 1920. He joined the RAF VF about July 1939 as an airman under training pilot. Called up on September 1st, he completed his training at 15 EFTS and 5 FTS Sealand and arrived at 6 OTU on September 10th 1940. After converting to Hurricanes, he joined 85 (F) Squadron at Church Fenton on the 29th and moved to 249 (F) Squadron at North Weald in Essex on October 17th 1940. Thompson shared in the destruction of a Junkers Ju88 on October 28th and destroyed a Bf109 on the 30th. In May 1941 249 Squadron went to Malta and flew off of HMS Ark Royal in two groups on the 21st. On August 5th Tommy Thompson joined the Malta Night Fighting Defence Unit then formed at Ta Kali. He damaged an Italian Br20 at night on November 11th. The unit became 1435 (Night Fighter) Flight on December 23rd 1941. Thompson was posted to 71 OTU Gordons Tree, Sudan on March 3rd 1942. He returned to operations on October 1st joining 73 (F) Squadron in the Western Desert. In mid-November he was appointed A Flight Commander. At the end of December Thompson was posted to Cairo and in February he went to 206 Group as a test Pilot. He was awarded the DFC (23.03.43). On March 10th 1944 Thompson was seconded to BOAC and he took his release in Cairo on January 26th 1946 holding the rank of Flight Lieutenant. The following day he signed a contract with BOAC as a Captain. He retired from British Airways on October 14th 1975. Tommy Thompson passed away on 9th March 2008.
Group Captain Peter Townsend CVO, DSO, DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Group Captain Peter Townsend CVO, DSO, DFC
| Group Captain Peter Townsend CVO, DSO, DFC |
Peter Townsend was one of the most inspirational fighter leaders of the Battle of Britain. In February 1940, flying a Hurricane, he had shot down the first German aircraft to fall on English soil in World War II, and this was the first of a string of successes for the popular commander of 85 Squadron. Shot down twice, wounded, and flying part of the Battle when he couldnt walk, Peter Townsend survived to lead the first night-fighter squadron. He later became Equerry to King George VI, a post he held for 8 years. He died 19th June 1995.
Flying Officer Jim York DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flying Officer Jim York DFC
| Flying Officer Jim York DFC |
Joined the RAFVR in 1941 when he was just 19 and early in 1942 he was sent to America for pilot training as a cadet in the US Army Air Corps in Alabama and Georgia. After operational training in 1943 he spent some time ferrying Beaufighters around the Middle East. Early in 1944 he joined 85 Night Fighter Squadron, 11 Group Fighter Command, at West Malling in Kent, where he flew Mosquitoes on defensive night fighter patrols. In May 1944, 85 Squadron was transferred to 100 Group Bomber Command at Swannington in Norfolk where the Squadron initiated Bomber Support. This meant changing from defensive night fighting to offensive night fighting, attacking Luftwaffe night fighters over Germany. Each aircraft was a predator on its own without the benefit of any Ground Control. They patrolled Luftwaffe airfields, radar beacons and accompanied bomber streams, generally creating havoc amongst the German night fighters. Jim York stayed with the Squadron until the end of the war and completed 39 Operations over the continent destroying two enemy aircraft. Shortly after moving to Swannington, the Squadron was switched back to West Malling for a short spell to help deal with the VI flying bomb menace and Jim went on to destroy four of the V1 bombs over the English Channel. After the war he resumed his career as a Chartered Surveyor.
|Battle of Britain Timeline of Related Info : 21st May|
|21||May||1941||Former British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O L. W. Stevens of 17 Squadron, was Killed.|
|21||May||1941||Former British Battle of Britain pilot, P/O M. DFC Kramer of 600 Squadron, was Killed.|
|21||May||1941||Former Canadian Battle of Britain pilot, F/O P. W. Lochnan of 1 RCAF Squadron, was Killed.|
|21||May||1942||Former British Battle of Britain pilot, Sgt. C. Wilcock of 248 Squadron, was Killed.|
|21||May||1942||Former Czech Battle of Britain pilot, P/O K. J. Vykoukal of 111 and 73 Squadrons, was Killed.|
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