Highlights from Fall 2016
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 ...
Family members and Relatives Post the Most
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.
Kurt read more ...
RAF Tornado Pilot John Nicol Researching Book and TV Documentary on the Spitfire!
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 ...
Wings Over Malta - New Book Available!
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 ...
Ron Powell’s, new book, Wings Over ... read more ...
Yugoslavian Mystery surrounds Canadian Pilot
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 ...
Volunteer Effort / Sponsors
At present, we use Google Ads to help cover our hosting costs of this custom built site linking pilots to aircraft. This is a Laravel custom coded site with some new features (and probably a lot of bugs to iron out also), and, we hope to add many more features in time to keep Spitfire enthusiasts reading, and, also adding to the content that everyone enjoys.
So we'll run some Google ads from time to time in an attempt to hosting cover costs, please support us by visiting them. The site has no other goal (financially) than to ensure it's hosting costs are covered, and as yet (Dec 2016) about 1/3 of that cost is being covered by Google ads. As traffic grows the cost will be met. If there is anything left, it will be donated to warchild.org. The site is completely volunteer driven, that's software development, adding pilots or parsing donated databases, helping users add content, and, of course, bug fixing. If you have a request, send it along or comment here.
Kurt read more ...
500 Canadian Spitfire Pilots (KIA / FA) Added to Site!
Thanks to Mr. Halliday (Distinguished Canadian Military Historian) who provided a database of all Canadian (RCAF / RAF) pilots who died in WWII. Most were KIA (operational), but a large number died in flying accidents (FA). We have thus added 500 Spitfire pilots to the database. The database as provided included all aircraft types (I wrote some code to filter for Spitfire), and, each row in the database included a key piece of information we were after -- the aircraft serial number flown, along with name, rank, squadron, date, burial location, home province (there are some as USA -- Americans who joined via Canada), marital status, and, how this pilot was killed (e.g. KIA, FA).
(Photo: Photo by Department of National Defence, PMR 76-212).
Because of this import, others can come along and fill in even more information using our wiki, i.e. images, comments / questions (users can "follow" a pilot twitter style and get informed when a question is asked / answered), additional text, and, more. We'd love to know more about each pilot, their pre-war activity, their home-town, and more of their training and operational histories. These pilots and aircrew had their young lives interrupted and became warriors. ... read more ...
Featured Pilot Every Month
On our home page, we have a "FEATURED" link which currently features the pilot Laurie Whitbread added to this site by author and RAF veteran Ron Powell (and the book review is coming soon - it's begun). Wings Over Summer contrasts the recent book we reviewed ("Spitfire vs 109 : Decisive Duel") in that it's a more personal story following a pair of Spitfire RAF pilots in the Battle of Britain. I've only just started, but I am very much enjoying it. Wings Over Summer is a novel focusing on two characters, inspired by an RAF pilot whose grave Ron passed all the time as a child. Pilot Laurie Whitbread was graciously added to this site by Ron.
Our next featured pilot (image top left - will be featured on the home page in December) is reconnaissance pilot John Bendixson. John's son added his father's listing to this site, with images, links, squadron information, and, even Spitfire serial numbers flown. John's father was a photo reconnaissance pilot, and, his son just added an article / documentary based on ops records of a low level flight over Brest France. Eventually, we'll do a feature article on recon pilots, ... read more ...
Book Review: "The Decisive Duel: Spitfire vs 109"
From time to time, we'll feature a book that includes the Spitfire or Spitfire pilots. Any user is welcome to add comments to this post suggesting another good book, or, submit a review, or just wait until we read another and post the review here. I am currently reading "The Decisive Duel: Spitfire vs 109:" by David Isby. First, the overview from Amazon itself, then, the review below.
"London, 15 September 1940. In and out of the clouds above the British capital, one of the most decisive battles of the Second World War was taking place. The Luftwaffe's massive air assault aimed to force Britain to sue for peace or, by seizing air superiority, make possible the cross-Channel invasion Hitler's generals were planning. Churchill himself watched the climactic battle unfold from the RAF operations room in Uxbridge. He asked what reserves the British had in the battle over London: 'There are none', came the reply. Every available squadron was in the air.
The air battle over Britain shaped the course of the entire war. But the fight that day was itself shaped by the duel between the two most advanced types of warring fighter planes: the British Supermarine Spitfire and ... read more ...