A great escape of immense magnitude, where 338,000+ UK, French, and Belgian soldiers were evacuated from the choked pocket around Dunkirk. Director Chris Nolan has created what looks to be an extraordinary film using as much 'in camera' footage as possible, including real aircraft. The whole movie evokes a 'being there' sense that transports the viewer back in time. Dramatic, emotional, triumphant -- for saving the British army. On the eve of the Battle of Britain and what many feared would come next, the invasion of England itself.
There has been some rancour in the day (one story of RAF being kicked out of a pub by returned soldiers) regarding the RAF being there in sufficient force to prevent the casualties. As the German tanks stopped to let the Luftwaffe decimate the forces below, it became very desperate. The RAF did respond, in numbers, and as one source (Ellis) quotes "during the nine days from May 26 through June 3, the RAF lost 177 aircraft destroyed or damaged; the Germans lost 240 (including from flak). For much of the Luftwaffe, Dunkirk came as a nasty shock." There was success in the air, but also ... read more ...
Unfortunately the 2017 summer cycle tour of the Kent Coastline and other site stopovers (Airshows/Duxford/B of B sites) will be postponed due to injury. Kurt (founder of site) says "I am unfortunately not able to cycle this summer due to upcoming surgery in July and will have to postpone this amazing trip that is dedicated to these pilots and their efforts".
"I'll either give it a try again in October of 2017, or more than likely, postpone to the summer of 2018". On the positive side, it allows the site more time to add more pilot biographies and features.
"I'll still make a decision in August about a potential late Sept / Oct visit, and I wish everyone who uses this site the best in their own health and well being" Turchan says. If anyone was planning on a meet up, or has added a number of pilots in anticipation of the trip, please get in touch with Kurt.
Check back to these blogs to a) get an update b) leave a comment or send an email RSVP'ing your interest in a pub night when the trip does happen. The more RSVPs, the better.
One may not have a Spitfire at their disposal, or even know how to fly, but, one can hoist a glass of ale with the Spitfire logo on it in honour of the actual aircraft and pilots. Possibly in a glass that allspitfirepilots.org puts in your hands. Shepherd-Neame makes the ale which they call a 'Kentish Ale'. They also make Spitfire Gold and Spitfire Lager. They all "take off" and land well in the Shepherd-Neame curved glass with SPITFIRE lettering and logo and that's what we'll have to give away this summer 2017 on our UK visit!
The potential allspitfirepilots.org cycle trip this summer along England's coast is an effort to collect more pilot biographies from people, see some of the sights, and, then host two group meet-ups (pub) with guest speakers. We'll have 20 SPITFIRE glasses (a squadron of glasses) to give away at these events. We will have two or three brief presentations, including one from author Ron Powell, who penned the popular "Wings Over Summer" and "Wings Over Malta" novels. Ron has had a distinguished career as Group Captain in the RAF, and, is now matching that enthusiasm with several novels from the WWII period. We reviewed ... read more ...
As we head into the New Year 2017, it's time to line up some new activity for allspitfirepilots . org.
One of which is a potential cycle tour (mostly on sustrans NCN routes) between Battle of Britain stations / airfields. I'd be glad to have anyone join me, cycling for a day or two or just meeting up.
The main purpose of the trip is to tour, learn, add more pilots as I ride, and, encourage others who have information to do so. While relatives from all these countries have been posting pilot information, the largest traffic base is from the UK. The decision to move forward with the trip will be based on RSVPs for a few pub nights, or, if a number of readers respond with an interest to meet up and share their stories.
We'll be adding many more pilot biographies as we cycle / visit along the way so keep clicking the "Feed" at the bottom of the site for a quick glimpse on what's new. You can sign-up to add or follow a set of pilots and get notified when new content gets added - and join in to build the history. You don't have ... read more ...
Family members continue to pour content in, and we'll cover some of the highlights. But at the same time it's not all family members, and, we are lucky to have some enthusiasts from all over the world adding content. A frequent poster to this site from Croatia has built a considerable interest in Canadian pilot JM Brodie. He was shot down (whose aircraft still lies in shallow waters) and killed while attacking shore targets. Other family members have added their fathers / grand-fathers to the site, and, in typical fashion, have taken an interest in other members of the squadron and added those pilots as well. This is a sure sign a next project will be to add squadron histories and forums to the site, allowing those who may share an interest in a particular squadron to communicate.
For now, here are some of the highlights;
K. Charles (has added his father and 7 others he would have flown with)
JR Caulton's Grand-son has added some fantastic imagery on Caulton's capture (image top)
Mr. Caulton would love to see more information posted on his grand-father, should anyone have it. For people who "follow" a pilot ... read more ...
After going live some 10 months ago, it's apparent that relatives of former WWII spitfire pilots are the greatest contributors.
From sons, daughters, grand-children and nieces and nephews who've taken special interests, 8 times out of 10 it's images or additional links for a pilot page (or a whole new entry) added by a relative.
The links section is particularly useful as this site is not trying to duplicate information out there, but, rather to honour each and every spitfire pilot, whether they flew in combat, training, reconnaisance, or other. Many women flew spitfires ferrying them great distances under difficult conditions. The links help centralize all the information available for a pilot.
Family members and enthusiasts are welcome, from all over the world, to post a page on a pilot. Or just add an image. Or ask a question in the comments section and solve a mystery (anyone who follows the pilot will get an email with the question. Feedback always appreciated, there are more features to come. Thanks for checking in.
Captured and tortured in the 1st Gulf War, John Nicol has since become an author (14 books), journalist, and motivational speaker. He is very well known for his media projects and reflections on war, his web-site is www.johnnichol.com and, now, he is considering writing a book on the Spitfire, focusing on the pilots. Our site, www.allspitfirepilots.org also presents a focus on the pilots and their stories from pre-war to their war efforts, and, beyond. John reached out to www.allspitfirepilots.org with the following ...
"I am currently researching a TV documentary and book about the Spitfire, and why, 75 years on, it still retains such an iconic place in the nation’s collective memory. I am already in touch with a number of squadron associations, but I am still seeking the “human” stories from the veterans themselves. This might be via living veterans who can talk about their experiences or from memoirs that deceased veterans wrote in the past. I’m also interested to hear from relatives of veterans who might be able to talk about their father/uncle’s etc. experiences and shed some light on the story.
The book / documentary will look at the human story of the aircraft throughout ... read more ...
You may have read our previous review on "Wings Over Summer" by former RAF pilot Ron Powell from the UK. Well, he's just penned another, building off the success of his epic novel of day to day life on the ground and in the air during the Battle of Britain. Ron's stories of how pilots had to adapt or die, told through the character's viewpoint. He paints a vivid image of what it must have been like. Now, with "Wings Over Malta" we get a glimpse into an equally desperate and pivotal air battle, with Malta being starved out entirely. Low on food, low on fuel, low on aircraft -- the allies hang on to a tiny but critical stronghold during the war.
Canadians have a special interest in the Malta air war as many Canadian pilots fought there, from George Beurling (RAF pilot with highest Malta success) to Irving Kennedy (who wrote a book later in life called "Black Crosses Off My Wing-tip" an excellent book) and many other Canadians.
The book "Wings Over Malta" is now available on Amazon (paper back or your e-reader), and here's a little extra on it ...
A Yugoslav (Croatia today - Yugoslavia in WWII) airplane modeler has a mystery on his hands that he hopes someone can assist with. This modeler / enthusiast began in earnest back in the 1980s, and, seems to choose aircraft which crashed in his neck of the woods, which for him is Makarska. He has interviewed many locals (even recently), and, seems to be interested in primarily one pilot's (Brodie) aircraft, while also posting and asking about a second. He has added dozens of photos for various aircraft that crashed in then Yugoslavia, along with pilot names, and, first person interviews with locals on the fate of the pilot. His English is not perfect, however, he did pen something for us to place in the blog here with respect to the particular aircraft he's researching. The attached the image (left) to his email, pilot #1 is Brodie.
He is looking for just one letter from the marking on an aircraft (ironically the first aircraft he started with back in the 1980s and 300 kits later, he's returning to his first for more information). The spitfire pilot is Canadian Flt/Lt John McAndrew Brodie. Anyone? Just log in and post a reply (question) ... read more ...
Although the site is new, children, grand-children, and, other relatives have been finding this site and posting pilot and aircraft content. It's very exciting to see family held content come alive with ground crew or pilot information related to the Spitfires their fathers flew or maintained. Here is some of the latest;
Spitfire MT856 Youthful mechanics moving a Spitfire in Burma or India, from the son in law of a pilot (see image top left).
Spitfire JF344 Question on Roundelle for this aircraft, and a new squadron image.
John Bendixson Recce Recce pilot whose son has posted some of his father's gripping sortie stories as comments to his father's page.
Sir Archiblad Foley The grand-daughter of Sir Archibald Foley from NZ (RNAZ) created his page, and, has linked his page to many (or every) Spitfire her Grandfather flew.
Henry Sprague Canadian Hurricane (B of B) and Spitfire pilot later POW Stalag Luft III (of Great Escape fame). Recently passed at close to 100 and new information added to his page.
It's very easy to add more information for a pilot. A user (any user) can log in, ... read more ...