Completing pilot bios and related ORB entries for pilots in 73 and 74 squadron.


Happening now! One of our users Justin Worrell is completing pilot bios and related ORB entries for pilots in 73 and 74 squadron.

Justin’s great grandmother Rose O’Keefe’s son Henry was in 94 and 73 squadron. When he visited Greece in his 20's he visited Phaleron War Cemetery and found his headstone along with reading most of the others there as well. Over the years he tried to find out what happened to Henry and who flew with him. With the internet things become a lot easier.

We’ve seen this pattern before, as the ORBs (publicly available at IWM) become a source of great detail to understand what type of flying a relative would have done. In the case of 73 squadron pilots, at that later stage of the war, in the North African, Italian, Yugoslavian (via Italy), and Greek theatres - it was less air to air combat and more ground strafing and bombing. Flying in at close range, flak took many and occasionally a bomb hangup as well.

Read more about 73 squadron pilots here and read about the Spitfire serials flown and the missions ranging from escort, formation flying, rescue, ground attack, intercepts and air to air ... read more ...

Usage Stats and Update


Thanks to everyone contributing otherwise "lost to the attics" photos and bio information recently. Family members and others who still have access to photos, documents, and, memories that can be shared tell the story of these pilots. We wish we could do more, for example, have a ground crew database as well, but the efforts to maintain a site like this do have their costs. If anyone has a story worthy of a blog post here for other ranks within ground crew, we'd love to post it.

In the meantime, here's where we are at with usage of the site, I think it shows the typical readership, with the UK being the largest and then countries with pilot representation from around the world. Interestingly France is always in the mix, no doubt because of the operations and direct contact with pilots in WWII. From 2nd place United States, it's a descending mix of countries like Canada, Australia, Poland, Holland, New Zealand, Czechia and so on.

Thanks for your support, whether it's imagery, further pilot detail, or a simple donation that helps us offset hosting costs.

Kurt read more ...

Ashton Pub on September 15 B of B Memorial


After Kevin's thoughtful post relating the IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow to some of the todays events, I followed up with my own recollection of my day on September 15th, 2022.

Three years ago in 2019 I cycled the South Downs way with a friend from B.C. Canada for the 100 miles, with a stop at RAF Tangmere. Two days later on September 15th, 2019 I was at Capel Le Ferne on a beautiful September day in very similar weather to Ottawa's weather of September 15th, 2022. I recommend anyone visit Capel Le Ferne on the 15th of September, as you will see a Spitfire fly over the memorial and the white cliffs of Dover. The interactive surround sound and video show in the museum is very impressive.

I was thinking not only of this crucial day on September 15th, 1940 when Britain fought not just for itself but for the whole world. And the whole whole world had to some extent joined in with pilots and aircrew from allied nations such as Poland, Canada, USA, France, Slovakia and many more.

I remember Sept. 15th 2019 for many reasons. One of which was the world in which we lived, ... read more ...

Battle of Britain Flying Display 2022 IWM Duxford


A grey Saturday morning with sombre music on the radio and black crows lining the telephone wires on the way to Duxford reminding one of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Walking around Duxford the crowds seemed muted.

The flying display at IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow started with a two minute silence the only sound being the unmistakable growl of a Merlin engine in the distance rising to a roar as the NHS Spitfire flew in low and fast and climbed into a victory roll. The crowd's silence continued during the display of loops and rolls and there was gentle applause as the display ended.

A fitting tribute to Her Majesty.

Other notable displays were the only flying Blenheim flanked by two Lysanders and a Gladiator, a Vampire a pair of Czech helicopters, (the MI-21 and MI-171) and a formation of nine Tiger Moths, as well as the old favourites the Spitfires, Hurricanes, Mustangs, Bouchons, Wildcat, Bearcat, Corsair, Yak 3 and the magnificent B-17 the Sally B.

As always the displays were professional and very impressive.

At the airshow one of my 'guilty' pleasures is browsing through the old military second hand books and there is usually ... read more ...

F/L HOLLAND, Robert James Henry


Today we are profiling F/L Holland, as new information has come in from his grand daughter via a friend.

F/L Holland's original posting with limited information was posted along with commonwealth graves commission information with KIA date of death as April 2, 1945. But we didn't have much else. Nevertheless, we see this pattern regularly where a relative with information otherwise lost to the attics will find our listing and add more information in memory of.

At the same time, we added a new tag for pilots where a mystery (or questions) remain, i.e. the pilot entry is being researched for further details which are missing or anticipated. F/L Holland is one such pilot where we have gained new information and hope for more.

If you visit his page here, you will see numerous new digital scanned artifacts and clippings (one detailing a train attack), his log-book notes on aircraft flown, which is quite a list, and, various photos.

One squadron and serial are identified in the original post by Ade Mottram a year or two ago. A more complete list will be added soon. F/L Holland flew from 1941 to just a month or so ... read more ...

South Downs, RAF Tangmere, and Camp X - Can you Solve this?


What an odd title? How could these 3 things have any connection at all? Can you break the code with just this introduction?

The South Downs Way is a walking and biking trail of 100 miles from Winchester to the seaside town of Eastbourne. RAF Tangmere was a Battle of Britain Station in Sussex not far from Chichester and for that matter the relief field at today's Goodwood Motor Circuit. Camp X was the secret Special Training School No. 103 commisioned by the BSC for the OSE in Ontario Canada. Any guesses?

Long Answer:

It seems like an eternity since I cycled the 100 miles of the South Downs Way in September 2019. It wasn't the 100 miles that was so bad, it was the 10,000 feet of climbing. Being from Canada, I had never been to the South Downs before, nor had I been to RAF Tangmere, where the control tower still sits in the corner of a farm field and next to a newer housing development. In my trip planning I had seen pictures of the Tangmere control tower, slowly decaying. Yet it is the one original airfield sentinel left of that iconic place and time in Britain's ... read more ...

IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow

2022-08-10 will be at the show again for the full two days covering the events, aircraft, people and the special finale featuring the stirring sound and sight of many Spitfires as they take to the skies. Our chief editor and lead researcher Kevin Charles will be on hand, stop by and say hello.

Here is the full description for the upcoming event scheduled for Sept 10 and 11, it's going to be a good one, and we hope to see you there.

One of a kind Second World War aircraft to fly in historic flypast at IWM Duxford’s Battle of Britain Air Show

The world’s only two-seater Hurricane and airworthy Bristol Blenheim will join the famous flying finale of warbirds at this year’s IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show. With plenty of Spitfires (20) and Hurricanes confirmed to take flight and a showground packed full of historical and 1940s entertainment, this annual event pays tribute to those who defeated the German Luftwaffe for control of the skies over Britain at a site where real history happened.

Other must-see aerial displays over the weekend include the much-loved Boeing B17 ‘Sally B’, the last airworthy Flying Fortress in Europe; a ... read more ...

Mysteries and Complete Pilot Stories Feature Added


We've added a new feature or two for our two chief editors to help identify both 'great reads' and 'unsolved' (and then solved) mysteries.

Any reader can visit the Pilots page and click one of these, i.e. to check out what we consider 'complete' pilot bios, with a good read, i.e. a description of this pilot's exploits, accompanied by images, and, squadron and aircraft serial identifiers. We'll update these time to time, so check back for some great reads. Or contact us (bottom of this site has link for that) to let us know about a great read you think we should add to the list.

We thought this would be a useful feature since many of our pilot entries get started with stubs of information, then, get filled in over time. Often by family members with new information, then backed up with research by editor Kevin Charles, son of Spitfire Pilot Alan Charles. Kevin seems to be taken with great stretches of research and deep dives into the online ORBs during lengthy cricket matches.

Another new feature is the 'mystery' (and solved) buttons. From time to time we'll identify a pilot bio/page as having an unanswered question. Perhaps you ... read more ...

Stocky Edwards Passes Away at 100 May 14, 2022


Taken from CTV News, see link below ...

Funeral services were held Friday morning for Second World War fighter ace James "Stocky" Edwards in Courtenay, B.C.

Edwards was a decorated Canadian fighter pilot who died on May 14 in his home just three weeks shy of his 101st birthday, with his wife, Toni, and close friends by his side.

Prior to the service at Christ the King Catholic Church, Edwards' daughter, Dorothy Edwards, shared some of her memories of her father with the media.

"It's a really sad day. He's my dad and he's not here now, but he was a hero when we needed heroes and now we need them again," she said.

Dorothy called her father an inspiration and noted that the funeral was being attended by many military personnel and friends who also admired him.

Edwards was active in various charities and outdoor activities right up until his death.

"I think that he passed happily knowing that he did everything he could," said Edwards.

"Almost all [his interests] had the outdoors in common and the environment," she said. "He was a hunter and a fisherman and a painter. He had a whole lot ... read more ...

A Grandson Continues the Udpates


The grandson of (Gil) G. M. Haase (154 Squadron) has been steadily adding imagery and Spitfire serials flown by his Grandfather. F/O Hasse was born in New Zealand, and, initially trained in Canada and served with RAF and RCAF before joining his compatriots in the RNZAF.

If you visit the pilot page for (Gil) G. M. Haase, you will see a nice collection of images, and, that's the kind of content we prize on this site especially the ones never published before.

On top of that Rhys (Grandson) has his Grandad's log book and has been slowly adding each and every aircraft flown. That list is now quite long and each is linked to the particular aircraft page. Rhys has also added pics for some of those serials as well. Thanks Rhys, and note that if anyone else makes changes to the pilot page, Rhys is a follower and will get a notification. This is one way relatives can get updated when others add new and interesting content.

In other news for the site, if you've checked out the Spitfires section (top nav) you will see hundreds of Spitfire images added to their associated listings. Thanks largely to Neil ... read more ...