A little about IWM Duxford’s English Electric Lighting F1 interceptor XM135

RICHARD MADDOX

IWM DUXFORD’s ENGLISH ELECTRIC LIGHTNING is a very early production example of the type.

Designed to protect Britain’s nuclear bomber force by intercepting Soviet aircraft that may target the bomber bases, even this early example could reach almost twice the speed of sound within minutes of taking off. (1)

Eventually more than 300 Lightnings would see service with the Royal Air Force as well as the air forces of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

It would evolve and serve for more than 30 years. (2)

ENGLISH ELECTRIC LIGHTNING Interceptor XM135 on display at IWM Duxford. The aircraft wears the colours it had when in service with No. 74 Squadron RAF. Copyright: © R Maddox 2019.

ENGLISH ELECTRIC LIGHTNING Interceptor XM135 on display at IWM Duxford. The aircraft wears the colours it had when in service with No. 74 Squadron RAF. Copyright: © R Maddox 2019.

Lightning XM135 first flew on 14 November 1959 before serving in a variety of RAF units during a career spanning almost 25 years. (3)

During this time it became the last flying example of the F1 variant remaining in RAF service.

In 1962 while serving with No. 74 (F) Squadron RAF the aircraft was part of the ‘Tigers’ – the official RAF Fighter Command display team at that time. (4)

The team was formed of nine Lightning aircraft and named after the tiger’s head emblem on the squadron badge. (5)(6)

In July 1966 XM135 was about to be assigned to the Target Facilities Flight (TFF) at RAF Leuchars in Scotland and was undergoing major servicing at No 33 Maintenance Unit based at RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire.

TFF units were formed to provide training for pilots flying other more modern Lightning aircraft in interception and combat techniques.

On Friday 26 July it unexpectedly took to the skies in the hands of the 33 MU’s Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Walter ‘Taff’ Holden.

Having read engineering at university, joined the RAF in 1943 and qualified as a pilot, Holden had chosen to serve as in the Engineering Branch.

Both he and the Air Ministry considered that his hands on flying experience would give him greater insight into rectifying the engineering problems that aircrew might report.

Having qualified on piston engined trainers his only experience of military jet flying was as an observer in a Gloster Javelin fighter and in an English Electric Canberra.

ENGLISH ELECTRIC F.1As undergoing deep servicing at No. 60 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dishforth. Image copyright © IWM. IWM catalogue reference RAF-T 4439. Original source https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205378780.

ENGLISH ELECTRIC F.1As undergoing deep servicing at No. 60 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dishforth. Image copyright © IWM. IWM catalogue reference RAF-T 4439. Original source https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205378780.

No. 33 Maintenance Unit was a mixed civilian and RAF unit that serviced after Meteor, Canberra and Lightning aircraft before they were returned to flying duties, either with their original unit or reassigned.

As part of his staff Holden had a qualified jet pilot who test flew the serviced aircraft. This officer was not qualified on the Lightning aircraft but Holden was able to ‘borrow’ a qualified and current Lightning pilot when necessary – often from nearby RAF Boscombe Down, the RAF’s test and evaluation centre.

As mentioned above XM135 was being reassigned to TFF and a persistent electrical fault that appeared when the aircraft was in moving in the first few metres of its take-off run.

This situation continued for weeks with the No 33 MU’s electricians replacing components time after time only to have the fault reappear. Not only was this frustrating to all involved, it was creating a backlog – and at a time when the unit was being prepared for closure.

On top of this at least one Boscombe Down pilot had said he would not fly the aircraft (and thereby clear it for reassignment to the TFF unit) until the fault had been clearly identified and rectified.

The pressure was on.

The electrical engineers decided to do a phased testing of all the possible electrical circuits that might be causing the fault.

They devised a plan whereby a pilot would be asked to run the engines move the aircraft about 50 metres and to operate banks of temporary switches each time which would be connected to monitoring equipment. In addition as these tests needed a section of (unused) runway a radio link was established with the airfield’s control tower so that they knew what was happening in case of any emergency.

Knowing that Holden was a qualified RAF pilot and that the all that was required was to move the aircraft over a short distance – and possibly also knowing that the tests could be repetitive and time-consuming – a Boscombe Down pilot suggested that Holden do the engine runs.

For ease of access and because of the additional monitoring equipment the aircraft had its canopy removed.

In addition the aircraft’s undercarriage was locked firmly in place and the ejector seat pins inserted so that a slip of the hand couldn’t send the aircraft crashing to the concrete below or the pilot rocketing into the sky above.

After a five-minute briefing on how to start the huge jet engines, Holden – wearing overalls and ear defenders like the rest of the ground crew – climbed into the cockpit and watched as the aircraft was towed to an unused runway.

Strapped into the aircraft, Holden had a member of his staff radio the airfield’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) to say he was starting the tests.

He noted the switch positions on a note pad, applied the aircraft’s brakes and then gently opened the throttle – feeling the aircraft vibrate as it strained against the brakes – moved the aircraft about forty metres, reapplied the brakes and flicked the switches back and added any relevant comments to his notepad.

With ATC permission he repeated the test with different switches and positions. The aircraft moved another forty metres. More notes and more flicking of switches.

While this second test was being conducted ATC had stopped a fuel tanker at the side of the runway and before the third test started had told it to cross to the other side.

Permission was sought and granted by ATC for what Holden thought would be the final test. He made his notes, repositioned switches, held the brakes and moved the engine throttles forward.

Then it happened.

He misjudged the extent of the throttle movement and the engines roared into reheat.

Now unburnt fuel was being mixed with the exhaust stream supplying even more power.

The eleven ton (11340kg) aircraft overcame the brakes and sprinted forward.

Using some very colourful language Holden tried to drag the throttles closed but they had locked in and needed disengaging.

Looking up he saw the fuel tanker had almost crossed the runway and he needed to ensure he didn’t hit them. With the undercarriage locked and reheat engaged it was impossible to steer the aircraft.

He hurtled towards the crossing point on the main runway where a transport aircraft was making its take-off run.

Running out of his own runway he saw the small village of Bradenstoke at its end.

Moving the control column back towards him, the jet into the air.

Having averted disaster on take-off he managed to disengage reheat and slowed the aircraft.

He now needed to land.

He had no flying helmet and no direct contact with the ground. He couldn’t eject as the seat was made safe by a multitude of safety locks.

He did the only thing he could and summoning up his pilot’s knowledge he came round towards the main runway for an emergency landing.

In all he made three attempts to land – learning more about the handling of the Lightning each time and recalling things like his brief introduction to the aircraft earlier in the day and times spent in the ATC armed with a copy of the Pilot’s Notes for the Lightning – an aide-memoire of facts and figures that he used should the pilot testing one of the serviced Lightnings have a technical question.

But although he was a qualified pilot his flying experience had been on training aircraft like the North American Harvard with him keeping up his knowledge on the little De Havilland Chipmunk – both very different to what was a few years earlier a front-line jet fighter.

On his third attempt he had all the information he needed to try a serious landing. He opted to land the ‘wrong way’ on the main runway – that way he wouldn’t overshoot and crash into Lyneham, another nearby village.

He made a wide circuit adjusting the controls to line up the jet with the runway. Down he came and as the main wheels touched the ground he released the braking parachute designed to slow the aircraft quicker.

Unfortunately he landed as he would have in one of the aircraft he was familiar with – all of these having a tail wheel and no nose wheel.

This means that he banged the tail of the aircraft against the ground and severed the brake chute cable which meant that the brake ‘chute had dropped useless to the runway as soon as it was released.

‘I felt reasonably calm because I had almost killed myself on five occasions in that 12 minute flight, yet I had miraculously survived.

What is more, I would see my wife and young family. Two or three times in that same 12 minutes, I thought I would never ever see them again.’

from Wing Commander Holden’s own account at http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/beds-herts-counties/articles-of-interest/a-memorable-fright

Although Wing Commander Holden was relieved to find he still had a career in the Royal Air Force the flight had a number of lasting effects on him.

By his own admission he was ‘unprepared for the release of the story to the public’ and became frustrated by the inaccuracy of some of the accounts written about his flight – some of which apparently had him flying while sitting on a box or even a wicker chair.

It is perhaps illustrative of the man that in an account written by him he notes complains that:

‘People wanted to write articles in newspapers, books, magazineS, interviews on TV and radio and underhand attempts to hear my account of what had happened.

Having admitted that I had made an unwise decision to do the ground tests, I decided that the unwanted publicity that I had attracted was in no way going to be for financial gain.

I steadfastly refused offers, although for a two-page article in the Sunday Express I requested the editors to make a contribution to the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund.

Despite prompts, no monies were ever handed over and I became very disillusioned with all publicity media.’

from Wing Commander Holden’s own account at http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/beds-herts-counties/articles-of-interest/a-memorable-fright

Elsewhere in the same account he states:

‘I have never sought publicity but, whenever it became impossible to suppress, I have had to live with it.

I enjoyed my career in the Royal Air Force, but not because of XM135!’

from Wing Commander Holden’s own account at http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/beds-herts-counties/articles-of-interest/a-memorable-fright

But he was to discover more than just frustration with the media.

He would spend at least two periods in hospital as a result of discovering a fear of high speed flying.

‘I had not come to terms with the emotional side of the event.

To return to my wife and family, after five close encounters with death, was indeed a miraculous experience, but I had not been honest with myself, to accept it as such, so I needed psychiatric help.

I could recall the technicalities of the flight without any hang-ups, but was unwilling to talk about that emotional side of the ordeal until I was placed under medical drugs and to bring those emotions to the surface.

That was a rewarding experience and it gave me a much better understanding of people who might need that same kind of help, after similar unfortunate occurrences.’

from Wing Commander Holden’s own account at http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/beds-herts-counties/articles-of-interest/a-memorable-fright

 OFFICE AWARD. The cockpit of Lightning XM 135. In this image - taken by IWM Duxford Volunteer Alun Clements at an Open Cockpit event some years ago at IWM Duxford - the small plaque commemorating Wing Commander Holden's leap to fame can be seen propped up on the cockpit coaming. Image © Alun Clements and used with his permission.

OFFICE AWARD. The cockpit of Lightning XM135. In this image – taken by IWM Duxford Volunteer Alun Clements at an IWM Duxford Open Cockpit event some years ago – the small plaque commemorating Wing Commander Holden’s leap to fame can be seen propped up on the cockpit coaming. Image © Alun Clements and used with his permission.

In 1974 the repaired aircraft was declared non-effective (that is no longer required by the RAF). (7)

It joined the Imperial War Museum’s collection at Duxford in April 1975 where it is resplendent in the colours it wore when serving with No 74 (F) Squadron RAF. (8)

Walter V Holden, BSc died on 11 December 2016 at the age of ninety. (9)

Additional information

The details of Holden’s flight and afterwards are based on a much fuller account written by him and published at:

http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/beds-herts-counties/articles-of-interest/a-memorable-fright

It is also where the quotes by Holden are drawn from.

This same account can be found at a number of other websites.

I believe it was written to try and correct the inaccuracies and myths that had grown up around the story – such as Holden was sitting on a box ( https://www.pprune.org/archive/index.php/t-570180.html and https://www.pprune.org/archive/index.php/t-590489.html ) or even a wicker chair ( https://www.pprune.org/archive/index.php/t-161406.html ) when he inadvertently took off.

Sources

(1) http://www.skytamer.com/English_Electric_Lightning_F.6.html – retrieved 5 February 2019

(2)https://www.baesystems.com/en-uk/heritage/english-electric-lightning – retrieved 5 February 2019

(3) https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/70000160 – retrieved 5 February 2019

(4) http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/lightning/survivor.php?id=30 – retrieved 5 February 2019

(5) http://aerobaticteams.net/en/teams/i127/teams.html – retrieved 5 February 2019

(6) https://www.natotigers.org/tiger-units/74-f-squadron – retrieved 5 February 2019

(7) https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/70000160 – retrieved 5 February 2019

(8) https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060022291 – retrieved 5 February 2019

(9) https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/70000160 – retrieved 5 February 2019

The Messerschmitt’s revenge – the death of Marian Jan Skalski, Polish Air Force

RICHARD MADDOX

ON 20 OCTOBER 1941 a new variant of Messerschmitt bf 109 fighter crashed near RAF Fowlmere, not far from what is now IWM Duxford.

 The 31 year-old Polish pilot was Porucznik (Flying Officer) Marian Janusz Skalski an experienced airman.

And the aircraft he was flying was in RAF colours.

20180423_161909A2

The grave of Marian Janusz Skalski in the churchyard of Saints Mary and Andrew at Whittlesford, South Cambridgeshire, England. Image © R Maddox 2018.

THREE MONTHS earlier Hauptmann Rolf Pingel on 10 July 1941 had taken off in the same Messerschmitt bf 109F-2 (Werke Nummer 12764) from his base at Clairmarais, near Saint Omer in northern France. (1)

His mission was to intercept CIRCUS 42 – a small force of RAF bombers and their fighter escort returning from an attack Chocques power station, around 20 kilometres from Saint Omer.

On the outward journey one of the Short Stirling bombers was lost to anti-aircraft fire over Boulogne and, having been spotted, German fighters were waiting on the return journey.  With cloud and haze over the Channel, the German pilot attacked and a running battle ensued. (2)

Pursuing a Stirling of No.7 Squadron RAF, Rolf Pingel was fired on by the bomber and also set upon by Supermarine Spitfire fighters of No.306 (City of Torun) Polish Fighter Squadron RAF, the same squadron Marian Skalski had been posted to in December 1940. Sergeant Jan Smigielski (3) was credited with forcing the aircraft to force land in a field at St. Margaret’s Bay near Dover on the south coast of England.

Hauptmann Pingel was an experienced Luftwaffe pilot (having gained a total of six victories from serving with the Legion Condor during the Spanish Civil War and a further 22 with the Luftwaffe since September 1939) (4)(5) and was serving on the staff (Stab) of JG 26 as commander of 1 Gruppe when he landed heavily near Dover.

He immediately attempted to destroy the lightly damaged aircraft but was arrested by an army detachment – which fired a warning burst of machine gun fire over his head – before he could do so. (6)(7)

Although Pingel believed he had been hit by either return fire from the Stirling or a British fighter (or both) no bullet holes were found on the aircraft when it was examined by RAF experts and it appears the aircraft was brought down through some mechanical failure – an omen of what was to come.

When interrogated by RAF Intelligence 10 days later, he would describe the Stirling as ‘a formidable opponent… well able to look after itself’ and ‘pouring cannon fire from every orifice’. (8)

In a very detailed and wide-ranging interrogation report dated 20 July 1941, his career is described and he states that the aircraft he was flying had only been flown for two days.

The report also contains an interesting comment by the interviewing RAF officer on his career to date: ‘This man was a very good type of Officer (sic), whose influence for the good of every Unit (sic) he has commanded, has been considerably greater than might be suggested by the number of victories he claims, for 22 is by German standards comparatively commonplace’. (9)

He praises the skill of RAF fighter pilots saying that they ‘were highly and sincerely praised’ and ‘Even the new pilots seemed to have learned a lot very quickly’. (10)

He also ‘grudgingly’ admitted that Polish airmen ‘fought with equal valour’. (11)

Elsewhere the same report notes that the 72 victories claimed by JG 26 Geschwader commander Oberleutnant Adolf Galland ‘is sincerely believed but his habit of chain-smoking cigars is deplored’. (12)

Faced with the ‘gift’ of a new variant of Messerschmitt 109 the British got to work quickly and sent the aircraft to RAF Farnborough in Hampshire in the south of England for initial repair.

This took longer than anticipated as the aircraft’s engine in particular was more damaged than first thought and the original planned completion date for the aircraft to be collected from the Royal Aircraft Experimental Establishment (RAE) Farnborough on 3 October passed. The engine was assessed by the RAE staff as ‘in rather a poor state’ and ‘would not go above 22,500 ft’. (13)

Such was the importance of the test programme that in the same document the value of test flying the aircraft ‘as it is’ is debated with the views of Air Marshal William Sholto Douglas, head of Fighter Command being sought on the matter. (14)

 The Air Marshall replied that he wished Air Fighting Development Unit at RAF Duxford to have the aircraft ‘as soon as possible’ and ‘[f]ollowing these very short trials we could return it to RAE or possibly hand It over to Rolls [Royce – aero engine manufactures] to have its engine fixed up for higher altitudes’. (15)

Meanwhile, calls for suitably experienced pilots were put out to RAF Headquarters Sector Stations at RAF Biggin Hill, RAF Hornchurch and RAF Tangmere.

large_© IWM (CH 1405)_BADER_Duxford

 Squadron Leader Douglas Bader at RAF Duxford resting on the engine cowling of his personal Hawker Hurricane fighter marked with the No, 242 Squadron RAF commander’s pennant on the cockpit side. Image © IWM. IWM catalogue reference (CH 1405) Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205087413

Wing Commander Douglas Bader RAF, the famous pilot (who had lost both legs in a pre-war flying accident and was stationed at RAF Duxford commanding No.242 (Canadian) Squadron, RAF in 1940) pressed hard for the trails and for the aircraft to be released as soon as possible, writing to Headquarters No.11 Group RAF at RAF Uxbridge (where the Fighter Command operations for the defence of London and the south east of England were administered from) in his new post as Wing Commander (Flying) at RAF Tangmere, near Chichester in southern England. (16)

Bader’s letter asks for the repairs to be expedited as ‘from personal experience and from discussions with other experienced pilots the tactics if the ME 109F (sic) do not appear to be consistent, probably because the pilots flying this type of aeroplane vary considerably in ability.

He goes on to state ‘It is not necessary for pilots at Farnborough to do hundreds of hours on the ME 109F (sic) before issuing data. The information… can be acquired by an experienced pilot in one or two ours flying on the first fine day, with sufficient accuracy for out requirements’. (17)

He concludes his letter with perhaps the real reason for writing: ‘It is also suggested that opportunity may be given to the Wing Commanders, Flying, to fly this aircraft.’ Bader had lead No. 610 (County of Chester) Squadron as part of CIRCUS 42 on the day when Pingel was shot down. (18)(19)

The repaired Messerschmitt took to the air from Farnborough on 19 September 1941.(20)

Still more work was needed and again Sholto Douglas was asked if he would intervene. He did, securing a promised date of completion by 30 September 1941.(21)

At 16:45 on Monday 11 October the aircraft – now wearing RAF camouflage and bearing the serial ES906 – arrived at the AFDU at to begin its programme of tests.(22)

large_© IWM (MH 31315)

One of a kind: Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2 in RAF camouflage and with serial ES906 sits in the sun while being operated by the Air Fighting Development Unit at RAF Duxford in October 1941.  Image: © IWM. IWM catalogue reference MH31315. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208020

These tests would evaluate the performance of enemy aircraft by test-flying them, often against current RAF types and suggested tactics for operational RAF pilots to use in combat. These would be circulated in RAF intelligence summaries and other publications

Despite the repairs at Farnborough there were still a few things that needed fixing and so the first flight which had been scheduled for the next morning was postponed until the next afternoon.

By that time a Supermarine Spitfire VB (serial AD315) had been procured from RAF Debden in order for the two to be compared and the two aircraft took off to do speed comparison tests and a number of pilots selected as per Sholto Douglas’ edict that ‘operational pilots from various squadrons in No. 11 Group to go there and be allowed to test their Spitfire VBs at Duxford against it, the Me. 109F flown by an A.F.D.U.’ and that he did not ‘want a series of leisurely tests by A.F.D.U pilots. I want the most experienced operational pilots in No. 11 Group to be able to make a comparison of performance and manoeuvrability with the Me. 109F at various altitudes including very high altitude.(23)

The need to test the aircraft quickly and produce results that could be rapidly understood by front-line pilots was paramount.

But the Messerschmitt didn’t agree.

In the afternoon of the 12 October the Debden Spitfire and the Messerschmitt took off together to do comparative speed trials but the persistent engine oil pressure problem reoccurred again as the German aircraft climbed to 15,000 feet.(24)

The aircraft did not fly again until Friday 15 October when again problems were experienced during diving trials. The next day the aircraft’s engine had all its oil filters examined when a number of issues were found and rectified.(25)

Sunday saw the reassembled engine ground tested ready for more air tests the next day. But poor weather ensured this did not happen.

Finally on 19 October a proper series of tests took place and the aircraft were in the air for almost five and a half hours.

The next day more flying took place with the Spitfire and Messerschmitt again airborne over RAF Fowlmere, again comparing their respective speeds at 15,000 feet. Tests completed at that level they climbed to 22,000 feet.

It was then that the Messerschmitt’s oil pressure failed once again and although it seems to have been partially regained at lower altitude and the aircraft carried out a series of slow rolls, it was then seen to lose height and dive almost vertically into the ground near Fowlmere village.(26)

Although the oil failure contributed to his death, it has been stated that Skalski died of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by engine exhaust fumes leaking into the cockpit through the holes left when the 20mm canon – which projected into the cockpit and was of interest to RAF intelligence at this time – had been removed.(27)

This would account for the pilot not pulling out of the fatal dive.

On 24 October a Polish padre conducted the burial service and Italian born Marian Janusz Skalski was laid to rest a few miles from where he was killed in the churchyard of the picturesque tiny church of Saints Mary and Andrew at Whittlesford (28)(29)

The Supermarine Spitfire Vb AD315 that it was pitted against would be lost on 17 December 1943. Now with No. 287 Squadron RAF – a unit that worked with anti-aircraft gunnery units – it was being flown by Flight Sergeant Peter Yorke Morris RAF when it crashed near Princess Risborough in Buckinghamshire about 40 miles northwest of London.(30)

Pingel’s Messerschmitt had finally had its revenge.

Sources

(1) http://www.anciens-aerodromes.com/?p=2157 (in French) – retrieved 10 May 2018

(2) Arrival of Eagles: Luftwaffe Landings in Britain 1939-1945 by Andy Saunders (Grub Street Publishing, 2014) Pages 83 to 85.

(3) http://www.ingridpitt.net/battle-of-britain/polish-fighter-pilots.html – retrieved 16 May 2018 (Smig link)

(4) http://www.luftwaffe.cz/pingel.html – retrieved 16 May 2018

(5) http://www.aircrewremembered.com/KrackerDatabase/?q=Pingel – retrieved 15 May 2018

(6) http://www.aircrewremembrancesociety.co.uk/styled-15/styled-18/styled-116/index.html – retrieved 17 May 2018

(7) AIR 16/350 Messerschmitt 109F Fighter aircraft: trials enclosure 31a:  A.I.1.K Report No. 398/1941 – Report of the Me. 109F of Sta. 1/J.G. 26, brought down on the South Coast on 10.7.41 (paragraph 7) File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(8) Ibid. Paragraph 51 – File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(9) Ibid. Paragraph 6 – File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(10) Ibid. Paragraph 52 – File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(11) Ibid. Paragraph 68 – File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(12) Ibid. Paragraph 61 – File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(13) AIR 16/350 Messerschmitt 109F Fighter aircraft: trials enclosure. Enclosure No. 51A, dated 4 October 1941.  File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(14) Ibid.

(15) AIR 16/350 Messerschmitt 109F Fighter aircraft: trials. Enclosure No. 52A dated 5 October 1941. File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(16) http://www.tangmere-museum.org.uk/articles/douglas-bader-2 – retrieved 23 May 2018

(17) AIR 16/350 Messerschmitt 109F Fighter aircraft: trials enclosure. Enclosure No. 32B dated 23 July 1941. File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(18) https://suitcasesvulturesandspies.com/raf-westhampnett-memorial-page.php – retrieved 23 May 2018

(19) http://610squadron.com/wwii_pilots/ – retrieved 23 May 2018

(20)
AIR 16/350 Messerschmitt 109F Fighter aircraft: trials enclosure. File minute sheet – Minute 44 undated. File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(21) Ibid. File minute sheet – Minute 46 dated 23 September 1941. File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(22) AIR 16/350 Messerschmitt 109F Fighter aircraft: trials. Enclosure No. 52A dated 5 October 1941.  File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(23) AIR 16/350 Messerschmitt 109F Fighter aircraft: trials enclosure. File minute sheet – Minute 48 dated 29 September 1941. File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(24) AIR 16/350 Messerschmitt 109F Fighter aircraft: trials. Me. 108F Diary (1) Entry for 12.10.41.
Enclosure No. 56A. File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(25) AIR 16/350 Messerschmitt 109F Fighter aircraft: trials. Me. 108F Diary (2) Entry for 20.10.41.
Enclosure No. 59A. File held at UK National Archives, Kew, England.

(26) Arrival of Eagles: Luftwaffe Landings in Britain 1939-1945 by Andy Saunders (Grub Street Publishing, 2014) Pages 90 and 91.

(27) https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/7504274/skalski,-marian-janusz/ – retrieved 10 May 2018

 (28) https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1128014 – retrieved 16 May 2018

(29) http://aircrewremembrancesociety.co.uk/styled-5/styled-10/styled-162/index.html – retrieved 18 May 2018

(30) http://www.aircrewremembered.com/morris-peter-yorke.html – retrieved 18 May 2018

Further information

RAF Fowlmere: https://aviationtrails.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/raf-fowlmere-a-remarkable-number-of-aviation-firsts-and-combat-records/ – retrieved 10 May 2018

Duxford airfield: https://www.scambs.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Duxford%20Airfield%20-%20without%20maps.pdf – retrieved 10 May 2018