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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.|
Flight Lieutenant Alex Thom DFC
*Signature Value : £50
|Born in Perth, Scotland, Alex Thom joined the RAFVR on June 24th 1939 and flew at the weekends at 11 EARFTS Perth. At the outbreak of World War Two, Thom was called up for full time service with the Royal Air Force and was posted to 3 ITW at Hastings on October 2nd 1939, moving to 15 EFTS at Redhill on April 29th 1940 and on June 15th moved again to 15 FTS, initially at Brize Norton and later to Chipping Norton. Alex Thom went to 6 OTU on September 29th at Sutton Bridge where he converted to Hawker Hurricanes and joined 79 squadron stationed at Pembury only for a short period when he was transferred to 87 Squadron on October 6th 1940, moving with the squadron on the 31st of October to their new base at Exeter. He achieved the rank of Pilot Officer on the 3rd of December 1941. During his time at Exeter he was also based on the Scilly Isles and on one occasion after shooting down an enemy bomber the crew bailed out over the sea. Alex Thom circled the downed German crew who were in a life raft until a motor launch came and picked them up. Thom would later meet the crew and was given a flying helmet by the German pilot, an item he still has today. Alex Thom was appointed B Flight commander on 10th July 1942 and was awarded the DFC on the 14th August 1942. At this time he was credited with two enemy aircraft destroyed and a probable He111. On the 19th of August 1942 while supporting the ground forces at Dieppe, his Hurricane (LK - M) was hit by ground fire and lost oil pressure. He managed to limp back to England where he made a forced landing at East Den. Thom managed to get back to his airfield as a passenger in a Master flown by Flt Sgt Lowe and immediately took off again in Hurricane (LK - A) back to Dieppe where he proceeded to strafe enemy positions. On the 1st of October 1942 he became F/O. In November 1942, 87 Squadron was transferred to North Africa. They were transported by ship to Gibraltar where the squadron flew sorties, and then onto North Africa. Thom was posted away from the squadron to be a flying control officer at Bone. He returned to 87 Squadron which was then based at Tongley and took command on June 27th 1943. He was again posted away from the squadron on September 27th returning to the UK with the Rank of Flight Lt. Thom became an instructor with 55 OTU at Annan on November 17th moving to Kirton in Linsay on March 12th 1944 to join 53 OTU. He was appointed Flight Commander Fighter Affiliation Flight at 84 (Bomber) OTU at Husbands Bosworth on May 19th 1944 and remained there until October 10th when he went to RAF Peterhead as Adjutant. His final posting was to HQ13 Group, Inverness on May 8th 1945 as a Staff Officer and retired from the RAF on December 4th 1945 as a Flight Lt.|
Group Captain Frank Carey (deceased)
*Signature Value : £70 (matted)
|Born 7th May 1912. Frank Carey joined the Royal Air Force n 1927 as a 15 year old apprentice. Carey was first employed as a ground crew fitter and metal rigger but in 1935 Frank carey was selected in 1935 for a pilots course. He was then posted as a sergeant pilot to No 43 Squadron, the Fighting Cocks, whose aircraft he had been servicing. Demonstrating exceptional panache in the Hawker Fury biplane fighter, Carey was selected for the squadrons renowned aerobatics team which took part in many air displays. In early 1939, No 43 Squadron was re-equipped at Tangmere, Sussex, with the eight-gun Hurricane fighter. During World War Two, Frank Carey scored 25 enemy aircraft destroyed, one of the highest Allied fighter pilot totals. Carey opened his account at Acklington in Northumberland, when he shared in the destruction of several Heinkel shipping raiders during the cold winter of 1939-40. This was followed by a short spell at Wick defending the fleet at Scapa Flow before he was commissioned as a pilot officer and posted with No 3 Hurricane Squadron to Merville in France after the German invasion, adding to his total. After six days day of continuous combat, during which he bagged some 14 kills Carey was shot down. He had attacked a Dornier 17 bomber and was following it closely down in its last moments; the pilot was dead but the surviving rear gunner pressed his trigger to set Careys Hurricane alight, wounding him in a leg. The fire stopped, and Carey lwas forced to land between the Allied and enemy lines. Carey managed to get back by hitching a lift with a Belgium soldier on the back of his motorbike until he was picked up by a Passing Army truck which got him to a casualty station at Dieppe, he was put on a Hospital train but the train was attacked by the luftwaffe afer the attack the Engin eDriver had detache dthe train form the carriages and left the wounded. The wlaking wounded managed to push the carriages to the relative safety of La Baule on the coast. Frank Carey along with some other RAF personel managed to obtain a abandoned Bristol Bombay whihc they flew back to Hendon with Carey manning the rear gun. Carey found himself listed as missing believed killed and awarded a DFC and Bar to add to an earlier DFM. He returned to Tangmere just in time for the Battle of Britain. During the Battle of Britain, Carey was shot down during an attack on a large formation of German aircraft, when after several ships had been lost from a Channel convoy during the summer of 1940 Carey and five other Hurricane pilots of No 43 Squadron arrived on the scene to find enemy aircraft stretched out in great lumps all the way from the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg. Frank Carey said about the combat At the bottom were Ju87 dive-bombers; above these Me 109s in great oval sweeps, and above them Me 110s. Three of us got up into them. It was absolutely ludicrous - three of us to take on that mob. At one stage I found himself hooked on to the tail of the last of an echelon of 109s and started firing away quite merrily. Then I had an awful wallop. It was an Me 110 with four cannons sitting just behind me. There was a big bang and there, in the wing, was a hole a man could have crawled through. Carey was slightly wounded by an explosive bullet, then a second Me 110 attacked and caused damage to Carey's rudder; but he managed to return to Tangmere only to be fired at by its anti-aircraft guns. That he managed to land was, he said, a great tribute to the Hurricane. He had been in combat up to six times a day when on August 18, the squadron's losses enabled him to lead No 43 for the first time in an attack on a mixed bunch of fighters and Ju 87 dive-bombers. The fur was flying everywhere, he recalled. Suddenly I was bullet stitched right across the cockpit. Since Tangmere was under attack he turned away and found a likely field for a crash landing at Pulborough, Sussex, where his Hurricane turned violently upside down. he spent some time in hospital. In November 1941 he was posted to Burma with No.135 Sqn when war broke out in the Far East. No 135 was diverted to Rangoon in Burma , , On February 27 1942, Carey was promoted wing commander to lead No 267 Wing, though it could seldom muster more than six serviceable Hurricanes. After destroying several Japanese aircraft he was forced to move to Magwe. As Japanese air raids increased Carey turned the Red Road, the main thoroughfare across the city, into a fighter runway. One advantage, he recalled, was that it was quite possible to sit in Firpos, the citys fashionable restaurant, and take off within three to four minutes. I managed it on several occasions. Early in 1943, Carey formed an air fighting training unit at Orissa, south-west of Calcutta, for pilots who were unfamiliar with conditions and Japanese tactics. In November 1944 he was posted to command No 73 OTU at Fayid, Egypt, in the rank of group captain. Awarded the AFC, Carey returned to Britian as the war ended in 1945, where he was granted a permanent commission and went to teach tactics at the Central Fighter Establishment at Tangmere. After attending the Army Staff College he reverted to the rank of wing commander to lead No 135 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force in Germany, where he flew Tempests. Converting to jets, he moved to Gutersloh as wing commander, A succession of staff appointments followed until 1958 he was appointed air adviser to the British High Commission in Australia. Carey, who was awarded the US Silver Star and appointed CBE in 1960, retired from the Royal Air Force in 1962 and joined Rolls-Royce as its aero division representative in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, retiring in 1972 and moving back the the UK. . Frank Carey died 6th December 2004.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Hurricane||Royal Air Force Fighter, the Hawker Hurricane had a top speed of 320mph, at 18,200 feet and 340mph at 17,500, ceiling of 34,200 and a range of 935 miles. The Hurricane was armed with eight fixed wing mounted .303 browning machine guns in the Mark I and twelve .303 browning's in the MKIIB in the Hurricane MKIIC it had four 20mm cannon. All time classic fighter the Hurricane was designed in 1933-1934, the first prototype flew in June 1936 and a contract for 600 for the Royal Air Force was placed. The first production model flew ion the 12th October 1937 and 111 squadron of the Royal Air Force received the first Hurricanes in January 1938. By the outbreak of World war two the Royal Air Force had 18 operational squadrons of Hurricanes. During the Battle of Britain a total of 1715 Hurricanes took part, (which was more than the rest of the aircraft of the Royal air force put together) and almost 75% of the Victories during the Battle of Britain went to hurricane pilots. The Hawker Hurricane was used in all theatres during World war two, and in many roles. in total 14,533 Hurricanes were built.|
|Me109||Willy Messerschmitt designed the BF109 during the early 1930s. The Bf109 was one of the first all metal monocoque construction fighters with a closed canopy and retractable undercarriage. The engine of the Me109 was a V12 aero engine which was liquid-cooled. The Bf109 first saw operational service during the Spanish Civil War and flew to the end of World War II, during which time it was the backbone of the Luftwaffe fighter squadrons. During the Battle of Britian the Bf109 was used in the role of an escort fighter, a role for which it was not designed for, and it was also used as a fighter bomber. During the last days of May 1940 Robert Stanford-Tuck, the RAF ace, got the chance to fly an Me109 which they had rebuilt after it had crash landed. Stanford-Tuck found out that the Me109 was a wonderful little plane, it was slightly faster than the Spitfire, but lacked the Spitfire manoeuvrability. By testing the Me109, Tuck could put himself inside the Me109 when fighting them, knowing its weak and strong points. With the introduction of the improved Bf109F in the spring of 1941, the type again proved to be an effective fighter during the invasion of Yugoslavia and during the Battle of Crete and the invasion of Russia and it was used during the Siege of the Mediteranean island of Malta. The Bf109 was the main fighter for the Luftwaffe until 1942 when the Fw190 entered service and shared this position, and was partially replaced in Western Europe, but the Me109 continued to serve on the Eastern Front and during the defence of the Reich against the allied bombers. It was also used to good effect in the Mediterranean and North Africa in support of The Africa Korps. The Me109 was also supplied to several German allies, including Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovakia. The Bf109 scored more kills than any other fighter of any country during the war and was built in greater numbers with a total of over 31,000 aircraft being built. The Bf109 was flown by the three top German aces of the war war. Erich Hartmann with 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories and Gunther Rall with 275 kills. Bf109 pilots were credited with the destruction of 100 or more enemy aircraft. Thirteen Luftwaffe Aces scored more than 200 kills. Altogether this group of pilots were credited with a total of nearly 15,000 kills, of which the Messerschmitt Bf109 was credited with over 10,000 of these victories. The Bf109 was the most produced warplane during World War II, with 30,573 examples built during the war, and the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced up to April 1945. Bf109s remained in foreign service for many years after World War II. The Swiss used their Bf109Gs well into the 1950s. The Finnish Air Force did not retire their Bf109Gs until March 1954. Romania used its Bf109s until 1955. The Spanish Hispanos flew even longer. Some were still in service in the late 1960s.|
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