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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.|
Flying Officer Ken Wilkinson (deceased)
*Signature Value : £40
|Battle of Britain pilot flying Hurricanes, he flew Spitfires with 611 Sqn and then 616 Sqn at Kirton-in-Lindsey and 19 Sqn at Fowlmere during 1940 and after a spell instructing returned to operations on Spitfires, with 234 and 165 Squadrons. After spending time with 53, 24 and 10 Operational Training Units, he left the RAF in November 1945 and served in the RAFVR.|
Ken said :
From 1st September 1939 I wrote myself off. I thought, 'you've got no chance' lasting through whatever is going to be. It was quite obvious, in the way the Germans were moving, they were going to make a hell of a war out of it, so I was ready for war. I can remember saying 'we've got to stop this fellow Hitler'. When you think of all the thousands of citizens that were being killed by this absurd bombing. They had to pay for it didn't they. Yes, we lost people. Friends that didn't come back. I don't think we were the sort of people to brood over it, ever. You have to get into an attitude to make sure that you're as cold as a fish. Once someone has failed to return, that's it. Fortune smiled on me and not on some of the others. I can only say that whoever it was who pooped off at me, wasn't a very good marksman. It transpired that we were doing something far more important than we thought. As far as we were concerned, it was just that there were some untidy creatures from over the other side of the channel, trying to bomb England and the United Kingdom. And we didn't want them to bomb us. After all, we never asked the Germans to start this nonsense, did we? But they did, and we had to stop them, and we did. It's our country. You die for you country.
Wing Commander Peter V Ayerst DFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £45
|Peter Ayerst joined the RAF in 1938, and was posted to 73 Squadron in August 1939, flying Hurricanes. He went to France with the squadron, scoring his first victory in April 1940. After a spell instructing, when he shared in the destruction of a He111 with two other instructors, he had postings with both 145 and 243 Squadrons. In July 1942 he went to 33 Squadron, before promotion to flight commander with 238 Squadron, both postings with further combat success. After a period in South Africa, he returned to the UK, joining 124 Squadron flying Spitfire MkVIIs in defence of the invasion ports, where he scored his final victory; then flew Spitfire MkIXs on bomber escorts to Germany. He later became a Spitfire test pilot at Castle Bromwich. Peter finished the war not only a brilliant fighter Ace, but also one of the most highly regarded wartime instructors in the RAF. His final victory tally stood at 5 destroyed, 1 probable, 3 damaged and 2 further destroyed on the ground. Peter Ayerst died on 15th May 2014.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Spitfire||Royal Air Force fighter aircraft, maximum speed for mark I Supermarine Spitfire, 362mph up to The Seafire 47 with a top speed of 452mph. maximum ceiling for Mk I 34,000feet up to 44,500 for the mark XIV. Maximum range for MK I 575 miles . up to 1475 miles for the Seafire 47. Armament for the various Marks of Spitfire. for MK I, and II . eight fixed .303 browning Machine guns, for MKs V-IX and XVI two 20mm Hispano cannons and four .303 browning machine guns. and on later Marks, six to eight Rockets under the wings or a maximum bomb load of 1,000 lbs. Designed by R J Mitchell, The proto type Spitfire first flew on the 5th March 1936. and entered service with the Royal Air Force in August 1938, with 19 squadron based and RAF Duxford. by the outbreak of World war two, there were twelve squadrons with a total of 187 spitfires, with another 83 in store. Between 1939 and 1945, a large variety of modifications and developments produced a variety of MK,s from I to XVI. The mark II came into service in late 1940, and in March 1941, the Mk,V came into service. To counter the Improvements in fighters of the Luftwaffe especially the FW190, the MK,XII was introduced with its Griffin engine. The Fleet Air Arm used the Mk,I and II and were named Seafires. By the end of production in 1948 a total of 20,351 spitfires had been made and 2408 Seafires. The most produced variant was the Spitfire Mark V, with a total of 6479 spitfires produced. The Royal Air Force kept Spitfires in front line use until April 1954.|
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