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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.|
Group Captain Byron Duckenfield AFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £45
|Byron Duckenfield started at Flying Training School on 25th November 1935 in a Blackburn B2 at Brough. As a Sergeant, he joined No.32 Sqn at Biggin Hill on 8th August 1936 and flew Gauntlets and Hurricanes. He joined 74 Squadron at Hornchurch on 11th April 1940, flying Spitfires, and on 5th May was posted to 501 Squadron flying Hurricanes at Tangmere. On the 11th of May at Betheniville, he survived a crash in a passenger transport Bombay aircraft in an aircraft in which he was a passenger, While comin ginto land the aircraft at 200 feet the aircraft stalled and the aircrfat fell backwards just levelly out as it histhe ground. 5 of th epassengers were killed when the centre section collapsed and crushed them. Duckenfield was fortunate as he had moved position during the flight. as the two passengers sitting each side of where he was sitting had died in the crash. (it was found later that the Bombay had beeb loaded with to much weight in the aft sectiion. ) recovering in hospital in Roehampton. On 23rd July 1940, he rejoined No.501 Sqn at Middle Wallop, then moved to to Gravesend two days later, scoring his first victory, a Ju87, on the 29th of July 1940. During August and September he scored three more victories. After a spell as a test pilot from 14th September 1940, he was posted to command 66 Squadron on 20th December 1941, flying Spitfires. On 26th February 1942 he took command of 615 Squadron flying Hurricanes from Fairwood Common, taking the squadron to the Far East. In late December 1942 he was shot down in Burma and captured by the Japanese. He remained a POW until release in May 1945. After a refresher course at the Flying Training School in November 1949, he took command of No.19 Squadron flying Hornets and Meteors from Chruch Fenton. After a series of staff positions, he retired from the RAF as a Group Captain on 28th May 1969. Duckenfield would write later his details : |
At first light, 12 Hurricanes IIC aircraft of 615 Squadron, myself in the lead, took off from Chittagong for central Burma to attack the Japanese air base at Magwe, 300 miles away on the banks of the River Irrawaddy. Arriving at Yenangyaung, we turned downstream at minimum height for Magwe, 30 miles to the South and jettisoned drop tanks. Just before sighting the enemy base, the squadron climbed to 1200 feet and positioned to attack from up sun. On the ramp at the base, in front of the hangers, were 10 or 12 Nakajima KI - 43 Oscars in a rough line up (not dispersed) perhaps readying for take. These aircraft and the hangars behind them were attacked in a single pass, before withdrawing westward at low level and maximum speed. A few minutes later perhaps 20 miles away form Magwe, I was following the line of a cheung (small creek), height about 250 feet, speed aboput 280 mph, when the aircraft gave a violent shudder, accompanied by a very lound, unusual noise. The cause was instantly apparent: the airscrew has disappeared completely, leaving only the spinning hub. My immediate reaction was to throttle back fully and switch off to stop the violently overspeeding engine. Further action was obvious: I was committed to staying with the aircraft because, with a high initial speed, not enough height to eject could be gained without the help of an airscrew. So I jettisoned the canopy and acknowledged gratefully the fact that I was following a creek; the banks of either side were hillocky ground, hostile to a forced landing aircraft. Flying the course of the creek, I soon found the aircraft to be near the stall (luckily, a lower than normal figure without an airscrew) extended the flaps and touched down wheels-up with minimum impact ( I have done worse landings on a smooth runway!) My luck was holding, if one can talk of luck in such a situation. December is the height of the dry season in that area and the creek had little water, it was shallow and narrow at the point where I came down: shallow enough to support the fusalage and narrow enough to support wing tips. So I released the harness, pushed the IFF Destruct switch, climed out and walked the wing ashore, dryshod. The question may occur -Why did not others in the squadron see their leader go down? - the answer is simple, the usual tatctic of withdrawal from an enemy target was to fly single at high speed and low level on parallel courses until a safe distance from target was attained. Then, the formation would climb to re-assemble. Having left the aircraft, I now faced a formidable escape problem? I was 300 miles from friendly territory: my desired route would be westward but 80% of that 300 miles was covered by steep north-south ridges impenetrably clothed in virgin jungle; these were natural impediments, there was also the enemy to consider. Having thought over my predicament, I decided the best I could do - having heard reports of mean herted plainspeope - was to get as far into the hills as possible and then find a (hopefully sympathetic) village. I suppose I may have covered about 15 miles by nightfall when I came upon this small hill village and walked into the village square. Nobody seemed surprised to see me (I suspect I had been followed for some time) I wa given a quiet welcome, seated at a table in the open and given food. Then exhaustion took over, I fell asleep in the chair and woke later to find myself tied up in it. Next day I was handed over to a Japanese sergeant and escort who took me back to Magwe and, soon after that, 2.5 years captivity in Rangoon jail.
Sadly we have learned that Byron Duckenfield passed away on 19th November 2010.
Oberst Hajo Hermann (deceased)
*Signature Value : £55 (matted)
|Hans-Joachim Hermann was born on August 1st 1913 in Kiel, Germany. Hans-Joachim Hermann began his military career as an infantry officer, but after his introduction to gliding and an invitation from Herman Göring, he transferred to the newly-created Luftwaffe and was commissioned in 1935. In August 1936, Herrmann was in the first group of Germans to arrive in Spain to support General Franco's Nationalist forces. Initially Hans-Joachim Hermann flew bombing operations in the Junkers 52 before becoming a founder member of the Condor Legion, whosemain mission was to attack airfields and defensive positions near Madrid. Many more bombing operations followed, and in April 1937 he returned to Germany. When Germany invading Poland Hermann took off in his Heinkel He111 to bomb railway lines in Poland on the first day. This was the first of 18 targets that Hermann attacked before his unit moved to support the German invasion of Norway. His unit was deployed to bomb targets near Oslo and Stavanger and after the fall of Norway, Hermann's unit was re-equipped with the Junkers 88 and moved to support the German army during the blitzkrieg across the Low Countries and France. During the battle of Britain Hermann was the commander of the 7th Staffel of KG-4, and he led many bombing attacks on England. His first target was oil refineries at Thames Haven and on the night of the 7th / 8th of September 1940 he attacked London. This was his 69th operation against England, when he bombed the India Dock. By the end of the Battle of Britian Hajo Hermann had flown 21 missions over London. A formidable figure in the Luftwaffe, Hajo Hermann was originally awarded the Knight's Cross in 1940 as a bomber pilot. In February 1941 while based in Sicily, Hermann led dive-bombing attacks against airfields on Malta. He was also ordered to hold the British Fleet in check. Attacks against the Royal Navy's heaviest ships followed. On April 7th 1941 following the German advance into Greece, Hermann's unit started mining and bombing operations in the eastern Mediterranean. On one attack, against shipping in Piraeus harbour, Hermann's bomb hit Clan Fraser, which was carrying 350 tons of high explosive. The resulting explosion sank 10 other ships and closed the port for many months. Hermann flew over 320 operations with KG4. In July 1941 Hermann was appointed commander of a bomber group, initially based in France to attack targets in England, before moving to a new base in the far north of Norway. His unit attacked Allied convoys heading for Murmansk with supplies for the Russians - these artic convoys included PQ-17, which was continously attacked. PQ -17 would lose a total of 24 merchantmen and only 11 ships made it through. With II./JG30, Hermann sank a total of 12 ships and in 1942 Hermann was assigned to the general staff in Germany, where he became a close confidant of Göring. In July 1942 he was appointed to the Luftwaffe operational staff. During the summer of 1943 as the Royal Air Force carried out night bombing raids, Hermann devised the tactic of using day fighters to hunt alone rather than in packs. As a bomber man himself, his ideas initially gained little support from the Luftwaffe's night fighter staff, but Göring supported the idea. Flown by experienced night fighter pilots and ex-instructors, the fighters waited in the darkness above their Allied targets, using the light of fires below to illuminate the bombers before attacking. He was responsible for the formation of JG300 and founded the highly successful Wilde Sau (Wild Boar) tactics of free roaming Fw190 night fighters. Hermann himself flew more than 50 wild boar missions and was twice forced to bail out of his stricken fighter. In December 1943 he was appointed Luftwaffe Inspector of Aerial Defence. At the end of 1944 he led the 9th Flieger division and created the famous Rammkommando. Hermann was credited with shooting down nine RAF bombers. After being Inspector General of night fighters, Hermann was appointed to command the First Fighter Division, when he continued to fly on operations. At the end of the war he was captured by the Russians. He spent 10 years in Soviet camps and was one of the last to be released, returning to Germany on October 12th 1955. Hajo Hermann awarded the Knight's Cross, Oak Leaves and Swords. Sadly, we have learned that Hajo Hermann passed away on 5th November 2010.|
|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.|
|He111||The German medium bomber the Heinkel He111 was designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter. The first He111 flew on 24th of February 1935, piloted by chief test pilot Gerhard Nitschke. The Heinkel He111 was the primary medium bomber of the Luftwaffe during the opening years of World War Two and the major bomber during the Battle of Britain. It was also used as a torpedo bomber during the Battle of the Atlantic. The Heinkel He111 was used in all theatres, Western, Eastern, Middle East and Northern Africa. He111 continued in production into 1944 and by the end of the war it was used primarily as a transport. Its origins came from a pre war airliner design.|
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