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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Wing Commander Roger Morewood (deceased)
*Signature Value : £45
|An uncle suggested to Roger Morewood that he should join the RAF so Roger did at the age of 17. Roger said : I was going be a pilot, that was the only reason to join. Roger trained to fly in a Tiger Moth biplane before joining 56 Squadron - regarded within the RAF as an elite unit - flying open cockpit Gauntlet fighters. The squadron were then re-equipped with Gloster Gladiators - the last RAF biplane - then the Hawker Hurricanes that would join Spitfires in fighting off Hitlers Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. While serving with 56 Squadron Roger Morewood was assigned the dangerous role of long-range fighter sweeps over the coast of occupied France and Holland but left to help form 248 Sqn at Hendon with whom he served throughout the Battle of Britain flying Blenheims. Roger said: We had a few panic station alerts when we were scrambled. We wouldd be leaping into our aircraft with flying suits over our pyjamas as we tried to get into the air in a minute and a half. In July 1942 Morewood went to 9 OTU and later HQ Transport Command. After a long post-war career in the RAF he retired in 1957. Roger Morewood once said of his squadron: It was damned dodgy. We had a high loss rate on operations. And on one sortie - then aged 21 - he nearly met his maker : I flew across to Den Helder (Northern Holland) in a long-nosed Blenheim to look after this battleship at the entrance to the Zuiderzee. We flew round this thing and sure enough I saw some aircraft coming up. They were twin-engine bombers naturally - Messerschmitt 110s. That was a bit hairy. My two blokes (other pilots) shoved off in a hurry into a cloud, and there was me popping away until I ran out of ammunition. There was just me left. I realised there was no point chasing - I was not going to knock his wings off. So I started flying home. After making hardly any noise all flight the chap (navigator) in the back said you haveve got somebody on your tail now - you had better move swiftly. So I moved to left and right. We got a pretty hefty clobbering. His turret disappeared at the back. My poor navigator wore a tin hat and I dont blame him. He got a bullet half way through his armour. He was alright. I had a dreadful wound. If I shook my hand really hard I could get blood out of one finger. I was hit all over the place. We took dozens of bullets. The aircraft was ruined. That is all there was to it. We were still going home - even with the North Sea to go across. So I trundled off back and ditched the damn thing. Thank God it didnt blow up. We literally got away with it. It was the hairiest trip I ever did. On another occasion, Roger intercepted a German weather forecasting flying boat called Weary Willy : I was in a Beaufighter at this time. I flew upwind and had a shot at him downwind. Then all the guns jammed. So I pulled alongside him - not too close - and waved him good luck lad. Anyway he sank when he got back to Norway. That was that one finished. Flying from Shetland, his squadron attacked German shipping off Norway. Roger was rested and spent two years training new Beaufighter pilots but still managed to go on some operations, mainly attacking convoys off the coast of Holland. Roger Morewood said: job was to attack the flak ships, floating anti-aircraft batteries, so other Beaufighters could attack the cargo ships. It could be pretty hairy as 12 Beaufighters lined up to have a crack at the target. You wouldd see tracer shells from your mates plane whizzing over your head or underneath you. They were a bigger danger than the Germans Wing Commander Roger Morwood was posted to the Mediterranean where he contracted TB. He recalled: "In hospital, they treated you with whisky in milk and a pint of Guinness for breakfast, very primitive stuff." When the war ended and the RAF were scaled down, Roger continued to serve in various postings around the UK until 1947. after leaving the RAF Roger was recalled again as an instructor at the Central Flying School, but with the rank of flight lieutenant. He was posted to Edinburgh and then Glasgow University squadrons. finnaly leaving service in 1957. Wing Commander Roger Morewood notched up more than 5000 flying hours in 32 different types of aircraft. Roger Morewood died in early December 2014.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Blenheim||The Bristol Blenheim, the most plentiful aircraft in the RAFs inventory when WWII began, was designed by Frank Barnwell, and when first flown in 1936 was unique with its all metal monoplane design incorporating a retractable undercarriage, wing flaps, metal props, and supercharged engines. A typical bomb load for a Blenheim was 1,000 pounds. In the early stages of the war Blenheims were used on many daylight bombing missions. On the day that war was declared on Germany, a Blenheim piloted by Flying Officer Andrew McPherson was the first British aircraft to cross the German coast and the following morning 15 Blenheims from three squadrons set off on one of the first bombing missions The Blenheim units operated throughout the battle, often taking heavy casualties, although they were never accorded the publicity of the fighter squadrons. The Blenheim units raided German occupied airfields throughout July to December 1940, both during daylight hours and at night. Although most of these raids were unproductive, there were some successes; on 1 August five out of 12 Blenheims sent to attack Haamstede and Evere (Brussels) were able to bomb, destroying or heavily damaging three Bf 109s of II./JG 27 and apparently killing a Staffelkapitän identified as Hauptmann Albrecht von Ankum-Frank. Two other 109s were claimed by Blenheim gunners. Another successful raid on Haamstede was made by a single Blenheim on 7 August which destroyed one 109 of 4./JG 54, heavily damaged another and caused lighter damage to four more. There were also some missions which produced an almost 100% casualty rate amongst the Blenheims. One such operation was mounted on 13 August 1940 against a Luftwaffe airfield near Aalborg in north-western Denmark by 12 aircraft of 82 Squadron. One Blenheim returned early (the pilot was later charged and due to appear before a court martial, but was killed on another operation); the other 11, which reached Denmark, were shot down, five by flak and six by Bf 109s. Blenheim-equipped units had been formed to carry out long-range strategic reconnaissance missions over Germany and German-occupied territories, as well as bombing operations. In this role, the Blenheims once again proved to be too slow and vulnerable against Luftwaffe fighters and they took constant casualties While great heroism was displayed by the air crews, tremendous losses were sustained during these missions. The Blenhiem was easy pickings at altitude for German Bf-109 fighters who quickly learned to attack from below. To protect the vulnerable bellies of the Blenheims many missions were shifted to low altitude, but this increased the aircrafts exposure to anti-aircraft fire. In the German night-bombing raid on London on 18 June 1940, Blenheims accounted for five German bombers, thus proving that they were better-suited for night fighting. In July, No. 600 Squadron, by then based at RAF Manston, had some of its Mk IFs equipped with AI Mk III radar. With this radar equipment, a Blenheim from the Fighter Interception Unit (FIU) at RAF Ford achieved the first success on the night of 2–3 July 1940, accounting for a Dornier Do 17 bomber. More successes came, and before long the Blenheim proved itself invaluable as a night fighter. One Blenheim pilot, Squadron Leader Arthur Scarf, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for an attack on Singora, Thailand, on 9 December 1941. Another bomber of No. 60 Squadron RAF was credited with shooting down Lt Col Tateo Katō's Nakajima Ki-43 fighter and badly damaging two others in a single engagement on 22 May 1942, over the Bay of Bengal. Katō's death was a severe blow to the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force.|
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