Capel Le Ferne Sept 15
An evening in Folkstone gave way to morning and a short bus ride up the cliffs of Dover, in anticipation of the Battle of Britain Day memorial service, complete with Spitfire flyovers, wreath laying by service veterans, and, a prayer service. All of this in front of the stone sculpture of a pilot (no rank, on purpose) at rest on the ground staring up into the sky, perhaps as a pause or in thought, maybe waiting for the next scramble. But either way, he's stood down -- and represents all those who fought in the Battle of Britain -- the fight over, even as today we are taken back to that desperate and deciding day on September 15 1940, when wave after wave of enemy bombers and fighters were met by the British Hurricanes and Spitfires. The Spitfires after the top cover 109s, the Hurricanes largely directed at the bombers. This penultimate day represents the whole of the Battle of Britain now as we reflect on this historic summer of 1940.
Close to 100 Canadians served in the battle, which included Spitfires, Hurricanes, Defiants, and other aircraft. I met Kevin Charles (now senior editor of this site and son of ... read more ...
Day 3 & 4
Day 3 and 4 are "get it done days" i.e. cycle appproximately 30 miles each day to make up the 60 miles left to go on the South Downs Way. This meant early starts, first from Cocking (a very quaint village with some impressive sculpture art visible behind the church, this famous art-work is known to have been sold to the Queen). Out of Cocking it's straight up, up, and up. On top, we reconnected with some hikers we spoke with at breakfast at the Moonlight B&B. Followed by more down and more up, it's rather relentless, but you start to relish each section; the up grind, the top if you can get some flats and flowy downhills with sweeping views.
We crossed a major highway and went up through a thick forest, finally some great views from up high (really high this ttime) and once again, hikers who started at this highway juncture below caught us up. Did I mention they are speedy over here. But then, some major downhill sections and we put a lot of miles behind us very quickly. A large lunch break was necessary in the town of Amberly, at the River Cafe. The sun ... read more ...
Day 2 - Cycling to Chichester Pub Night
Day 2 turned out not to be as far as feared, and, came in at about 20 miles. Just the same, it was 20 miles of up and down the South Downs. Because the goal that evening was the open invite pub night in Chichester (at what is now Wetherspoons, but in WWII was frequented by the airmen, as was the Unicorn which is no longer a pub) we made our stop in Cocking at the Moonlight B&B. Getting in early at 1 p.m. from our start at East Meon (Sustainability Centre) doesn't mean it was easy. The South Downs up top are heaven, and they felt close to it in the mist shrouded forests and open pastures, we saw few people up there, just a few hikers (that seemed to pass us time to time -- they hike fast in England!).
The uphills were long and the long sweeping downhills, often on flowy single-track at high speed are a mountain bikers dream. We rented our bikes from Chalkpit Trails, our Specializeed rock hopper bikes from owners Abigail and Dave were fantastic, perfect for traversing the South Downs 100 mile epic. Technical enough in parts, both my buddy Mark and ... read more ...
Day 1 Cycling Complete - Pub Night tomorrow the 11th
The South Downs Way adventure has started. Today was the first day of cycllng England''s South Downs Way, where we completed roughly 20 miles from Winchester to East Meon vicinity. The rolling hills and country vistas are spectacular, and the weather co-operated this Sept 10th, 2019. The cycling trip is in support of this site to let more people know about it, and, stop in on a few related sites. One of which is the Tangmere tower followed by an open invite to the Wetherspoon (Dolphin and Anchor) pub in Chichester, where I hope to meet anyone interested in adding information to the site, or just popping by to say hi. As mentioned, Ron Powell, author of "Wings Over summer" will join us at 7 p.m.
Today's cycle was tough, there is no question you have to be ready for the hills, but we're taking our time, doing the South Downs Way in 4 days. Today's highlights included fixing *successfully* a broken chain, missing the bus in Salisbury but getting an even cheaper taxi ride (than the train) directly to Winchester (start of the ride), getting lost on some tangent of a bridle-way / foot path (there are many offshoots) ... read more ...
Sept 11 Pub Night At Dolphin and Anchor Chichester
Come visit and socialize with other Spitfire enthusiasts, bring a pilot story or a photo -- or just have a pint. Founder of this site, Kurt Turchan will be visiting the area (from Canada) and will be joined by Ron Powell (author of Wings Over Summer) who will give a talk on Battle of Britain Pilots. Ron is a retired RAF pilot officer who added one of the first pilots to the site P/O Laurie Whitbread.
Wetherspoons pub (The Dolphin and Anchor, now 9 West Street, Chichester, was frequented by pilots and aircrew at the time ) is in the vicinity of the Tangmere airfield, which today, also has the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum nearby.
Kurt has 3 stops on his visit, beginning with a cycle tour of the 100 miles of the South Downs Way, starting on Sept 10, 2019.
Drop by any of these events to say hello.
1) Wetherspoon Pub / (The new Dolphin and Anchor, 9 West Street), Chichester Sept 11, 7 p.m.
2) Capel Le Ferne, Sept 15 (Battle of Britain Day), Folkstone -- public ceremony & flypast
3) The Old Jail (pub), Biggin Hill vicinity, Sept 16, 7 p.m.
Kindly RSVP (use contact ... read more ...
T-SHIRTS Now Available -- Support allspitfirepilots.org
Picking up a t-shirt not only helps us cover hosting costs, but, supports the real mission of the site, to gather and collect Spitfire pilot stories and operational details, while keeping the site up and running, and, free for all to use. If you've enjoyed a few reads on the site, or believe in what we are doing, please consider a t-shirt purchase.
ETSY allspitfirepilots.org shop
This site has a number of volunteer editors, enthusiasts, and, relatives adding pilots, it's like a wiki -- so we rely on your support. A t-shirt is a great way to do that and I hope the designs by Dave O'Malley of Aerographics in Ottawa, Canada (also graciously donated) will be well received, thanks Dave! All software development for this site was also donated, so our goal is to cover hosting and upgrade costs that software needs from time to time.
The t-shirt showing a pilot is that of Arnold Walter Roseland, who's story was added by Dave to allspitfirepilots.org with gripping ferocity. The Roseland Spitfire is flown today by Vintage Wings in tribute to this brave Canadian pilot who gave his life in a fierce dogfight over the skies ... read more ...
IWM Battle of Britain Airshow 2019 - celebrating 50 years since the 1969 classic movie!
This year’s Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show will celebrate 50 years since the 1969 classic starring Michael Caine. If you've never been to this expansive airshow, put it on your list, this year will be a very special one where you may participate.
* Allpsitfirepilots.org editorial note: We'll be there. Our senior editor, Kevin Charles, son of Spitfire Pilot Alan Charles (see entry on this site) will be on hand to capture and report on the flights and goings on. If you are going to be there, send us a note, we'd be glad to forward that on to Kevin who will be on hand with a few special give-aways for our readers.
Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show
Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 September 2019
Tickets from £35; kids go free*
September’s Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show will include displays from an array of original Second World War aircraft, including P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts, and will culminate in a mass flypast of 19 Spitfires, including a Mk. XVIII Spitfire. Four Búchon fighter jets with Luftwaffe markings, which starred in the 1969 Battle of Britain film, will take flight. There will also be a Battle ... read more ...
September 2019 Visit - meet up for Pub Night(s)!
My trip to England is finally set. After an attempt in 2016 was held up by injury, I (founder / developer of this site) am finally heading over to visit England for a brief visit, combining a cycle trip along the South Downs Way (National Park) from Winchester to Eastbourne (Sept 10-14) followed by a visit to the Battle of Britain memorial at Capel-le-Ferne on Battle of Britain Day Sept 15 -- where there will be a flypast.
NOTE: The trust runs the Capel-le-Ferne site without any government support, so donations or online purchases are always welcome by them, along with your visit (the site is free to visit). I will look forward to that visit and learning more. You can find their info / site description here.
I hope to send out some local press along the way to invite anyone's contributions to the site, and host a few pub nights (Sept 11th Dolphin in Chichester at 7 p.m. (you are cordially invited!), frequented by Tangmere airmen at the time) and a second pub night near Biggin Hill (Croydon area) on Sept 16 for Londoners.
If you think you'd like to meet up, please let me know ... read more ...
Spitfires at D-Day
Along with the C-47 Dakotas, the Spitfire played a key role in the D-Day invasions on June 5 and 6th 1944, where according to www.thesun.co.uk article ...
"A total of 55 Spitfire squadrons strafed and bombed Nazi defences on the Normandy coast during Operation Overlord — the largest seaborne invasion in history. The planes' mission began the day before the troops arrived in their landing craft on the morning of June 6."
The enemy airforce in the skies was largely depleted, so apart from ground attack, a watch still had to be kept for enemy fighters. An eyewitness account as provided by RCAF online news and "The Memory Project" gives a bird's (Spitfire's) eye view of the action closer to D-Day landings ..
Ivor Williams, a Spitfire pilot with 443 Squadron, assisted in patrolling Juno Beach on D-Day, warding off enemy fighters and providing cover for ships. “I flew the last patrol at night on June the 5th , and we were, in the south of England, and in five minutes we were over the [English] Channel,” he told The Memory Project in an interview that is available on their website. “It was the most fantastic sight that ... read more ...
75th year Anniversary C-47 Dakota flyover
Aviation fans who are lucky enough to be along the route flown by 34 Dakotas on June 5, 2019 (Duxford-Maidstone-Portsmouth-Caen France) will hear the sounds and get the feel of what 800 Dakota C-47 transports that carried over 24,000 paratroopers over to France was like in June 1944. The mission laid the groundwork for the June 6 invasion that changed the course of the war.
Comments welcome (below) from anyone who attended related events or who viewed the fly-overs. About 250 parachutists, in full Allied uniforms, will be dropped into Sannerville, near Caen, on June 5th 2019, where thousands of British paratroopers landed under cover of darkness in June 6, 1944.
More information on the Dakota and the 'Daks Over Normandy' event are available at daksovernormandy.com, along with another excellent article by the sun on the D-Day D-Day Dakotas and the airborne troops that touched down.
The June 5 (Daks Over Normandy) celebrations were attended by dignitaries, veterans, and the public in Portsmouth as well as in France where the following video shows a re-enactment with hundreds of paratroopers which can be seen on youtube here.
Kurt read more ...