DollyAnna (Dame Vera Lynn patron) Spitfire and Research


Editor's note: Our chief editor Kevin Charles has been assisting the Dollyanna Spitfire project by helping track down hundreds of pilots who flew in Spitfires for which parts have been recovered to create the Dollyanna Spitfire Memorial. A project that couldn't align better with the objectives of, where we seek to memorialize all Spitfire pilots via the contributions of family members, enthusiasts, and our editors.

The Dollyanna memorial (Dame Vera Lynn patron) Spitfire

A project embarked upon some 27 years ago by Andy Barton was to build a MkII Spitfire in various sheds and the garage in his back garden within a Sussex seaside town is nothing less than a task of titanic proportions.

Over the years Andy has tirelessly spent hours building this project. There are many spitfire projects ongoing around the globe, what makes the ‘Dollyanna’ unique, is the fact that all the parts used uses are from original wartime flown and crashed spitfires accompanied by the pilot’s history with provenance confirmed spitfire serial number so making the DollyAnna almost a kind of a museum to the spitfire.

With 127 histories built into the one airframe to date, even the smallest piece the size of a 10p ... read more ...

IWM Battle of Britain Airshow 2021


These days it's not often I get up early, but at sunrise I watched as Saturday 18th September dawned with the sky painted a mixture of pastel blues and pinks, criss-crossed by brilliant white con-trails hinting at a return to post pandemic normality. As did the return of the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show which is where I was heading at this ungodly hour in the morning.

This year’s show was certainly up to the high standard of those prior to the pandemic which caused last year’s postponement, although it felt like the attendance numbers were down from previous years, which actually gave a much more relaxed feel and space to stretch out.

The sounds of the 1940's were re-created by the Cambridge Swing Band with a bass section of Rolls Royce Merlins adding to the atmosphere although it was somewhat surreal to hear 'It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)' punctuated by pyrotechnic explosions and machine gun fire. The sights of the 1940's were provided by re-enactment groups who portrayed the smoking, tea drinking and nail biting that came with the "hours of boredom punctuated by minutes of sheer terror" which was air combat ... read more ...

National Archives UK Free Downloads - Pilot Researchers Wanted!


Due to the pandemic, the National Archives (UK) are offering free downloads of ORBs (summaries, records). This is a great time for users of this site to do extended research on pilots and squadrons.

Our senior editor, Kevin Charles, relies on this resource heavily, and he has noted that during the pandemic, a certain number of monthly downloads are available for free.

I wanted to check this out, by researching a particular pilot I had entered on the site. So the first step is to register online, and, confirm by email your registration. After that, you login and select a squadron and year range. You can then sort by date (most useful) to find the time period you are interested in, perhaps a relative of yours who was in service with a particular squadron at a particular time.

What I found fascinating were the summaries. The C.O.'s tend to describe all squadron activities. In the reports I was interested in, for 416 RCAF Squadron, I noted the records showed the sortie details whereas the summaries gave the big picture, including leaves (pilots on leave comings and goings), training, aircraft replacements and the pilot remarks on these, parties, and of course, ... read more ...



Lots of entries continue to pour in from enthusiasts and relatives of former pilots. As founder of this site 5 years ago, I am thrilled about the growing database of pilot biographies, regardless of their operational experience. And not just their war efforts (if they survived) what they went on with after the war. And their pre-war histories as well. Who were these men and women that desperately wanted to fly in order to protect the free world from tyranny. That's part of what the site is about, along with operational details, the aircraft they flew, the squadrons they belonged to and so on.

I personally would like to add more software features, to build both feature and function that users of the site (about 3,500 a month) enjoy. There is a lot more to do?

As it's two people doing the development and hosting the site, there are costs. So my question to any reading the blog, if you so choose to support the site, how would you do that, and, what other ideas or features would you like to see. Likely others would want the same.

So if you have the time, please shoot me back on email ... read more ...

Spitfires Up Close - Newly added Wide Images are Spectacular!


Any user who visits the 'Spitfire' section of the site where all 22,000+ Spitfire serials can be accessed, will notice that if the page (Spitfire) has any images in it's listing, one will be selected and placed at the top of the page, in large format. Spectacular new detail emerges with this enhancement, as the horizontal nature of the Spitfire images lend themselves to wide full screen display.

See Spitfire LA323 as an example of the new page format. To view others, click 'Spitfires' on the top navigation of the site and select any you see a thumbnail for. It is exciting to see a Spitfire with crew around it in various theatres of operation. These are precious snapshots, some of these images being liberated from attics for the very first time, just like LA323 above.

So how do Spitfire images appear. Users make use of the WIKI feature on this site to source an image, and, upload it to the Spitfire page (by serial) in question after finding it's entry on Users can also add a comment to the image (attribution/source) if required, and, other users can then comment on the image or aircraft details in general. ... read more ...

A call out to 601 Squadron enthusiasts for Pilot Pic


A contributor to the site (nephew of P/O Brian Raises) reached out to us with a request to help him find a picture of his uncle, who was killed in 1942 near Tripoli and whose aircraft was never found. If any 601 squadron enthusiasts may have some photos and can identify Brian Raises, his nephew would be very pleased.

We've pressed our senior editor (Kevin Charles) whose interest is also North African and Italian campaigns of the air war, and Kevin indicates his "finger prints" are all over the internet, but no images seem to exist, at least on an initial search.

In P/O Raises nephew's (Braham Power) words ...

"I am the last of his living relatives as both his sisters ( one of whom was my mother ) have passed and there is no one else. Here is a bit of background;

Braham ( Brian ) Raises born 22/3/1921 Melbourne Victoria.

Pre war he studied law in London, however flying was his passion so he pursued that instead, joining the RAF when war broke out. He served with

54 Squ Feb 42
127 Squ July 42 Scoring a JU87 2/9/42
601 Squ KIA 10/12/42 flying out ... read more ...

Expanding the site through Partnerships


Here at, we've built the world's largest and best collection of Spitfire pilot biographies going into extra-ordinary detail matching pilots to their squadrons (and other squadron pilots), the specific aircraft they flew, with the ability to ask questions, leave a comment, post a picture, or follow a particular pilot (get informed when others add information). Launched in 2015, there has now been 5 years of global contributions including heart-wrenching stories, humorous incidents, recollections from pilots and sons and daughters, legacies preserved.

As the creator (and software developer) of this site, it has been an absolute pleasure to create this very personal and historical site and make it database driven so that the collection of material grows. Being a global resource, submitters (often family members) have posted otherwise 'lost to the attics' material and imagery. They have been able to both add and seek out more information on pilots. Spitfire Pilots from the UK make up a significant number, but so do the Poles, Canadians, Americans, Czechs, Australian, Dutch, Norwegians, South Africans, Belgians, French and so on. Then there are the pilots from India (one in particular still alive and contributing to the site), Brazil, and even the Caribbean. On ... read more ...

Do you have a WWII aviation item you'd like to find a new home for?


We have from time to time had enquiries from collectors, who come across aviation materials from WWII that may be of interest to this audience.

In this case, it's a pilot jacket, and we're happy to put the call out for other enthusiasts who may want to consider aquiring.

The family wants the jacket and log books to go to a good home. From David ...

" I have recently been asked to dispose of a WW2 Irvine on behalf of the family (friends of my wife’s).

AH McKee (21 Squadron) retired post war as a Squadron leader. He was a navigator in Mosquitos and flew 104 missions including on D-Day.

He was awarded the DFC and bar.

First operation was 12/10/41 and last operation was 26/4/45. He used this Irvine throughout the war and afterwards.

He flew 30 missions with Squadron Leader Henry Erskine, Joe Bodien DSO DFC an ace who shot down three aircraft in a Defiant and survived – not too many Defiant airman survived to tell the tale!.

Unfortunately the zipper is broken and it does exhibit use wear & tear (which is what you expect after 104 missions and general flying duties). There are two ... read more ...

Italian Campaign 75th Anniversary


The WWII Allied Italian campaign is of significant interest to users (contributors) of this site, and, it appears, in the news as well as the 75th anniversary of the Italian Campaign is recognized this year. These recent news articles help paint a picture of life back then, as the pilots moved from North Africa to Italy for the push to Germany. Read the article about a Spitfire pilot in HE FLEW SPITFIRES OVER ITALY, SHE ENTERTAINED THE TROOPS, STILL MARRIED (2019).

The 75th Anniversary triggered us to list several pilots from different countries (pages on this site with full biographies you can click to) in this post who served in North Africa and Italy, so stay tuned, some of our expert contributors are writing up this short-list presently.


244 Wing: 92, 145, , 241, 417, 601, 1 SAAF

W/C Ronald E Bary RNZAF, Commander 244 wing (fair amount if you Google him as well - he also flew in the Battle of Britain)

Lt Hermann Kritzinger, SAAF, 1 SAAF

S/L David Goldberg, RCAF 417 Squadron
Every Stone Has A Story.

W/O Alan Charles, RAF, 601 Squadron (and ... read more ...

92 Squadron Being Detailed by Nephew of Roy Mottram!


The famed 92 Squadron, for which there are now hundreds of pilots here on thanks to the nephew of F/L Roy Mottram, has seen continuous additions (pilots, serials, bios) on a weekly basis which will in turn allow other relatives to come along and add details.

That's how this site works, and Adrian has done a great service to the memory of these pilots. As a result of his additions, after having found the almost bare listing on this site (brief stats on a log book being held by IWM along with a name/rank), Ade Mottram (nephew) has not only filled in a brilliant tribute to his uncle, but dozens of other 92 / 54 Squadron pilots.

In a pattern we've seen before, one person takes on the task of researching dozens of squadron mates, and this seeds the database for others to find these 'stub' listings and fill in more, including perhaps their own story of how they came to find out so much.

Click for 92 and 54 squadron pilots, and, the page for F/L Roy Mottram.

So here is a summary of how it all unfolded, in ... read more ...