Sunday, 8 July 2012

Spitfire Ace

For all Spitfire enthusiasts, check out the 'Spitfire Ace' episodes on You Tube. Just to see a Spitfire take to the skies is a beautiful sight and the roar of the Merlin engines gives you goosebumps.

The aircraft pictured below is one of the few remaining airborne Spitfires in the world. It's owned by Carolyn Grace, the sole female Spitfire pilot in the world. She learnt to fly it following the loss of her husband in 1988, thus continuing on his legacy. The distinctive black and white stripes were painted onto all allied aircraft for D-Day, to distinguish them from the enemy. On D-Day it was flown by Pilot Officer Johnnie Houlton, DFC, who was accredited with shooting down the first enemy aircraft over Normandy beach.

The Grace Spitfire has its own website and it's worth taking a look. You can book both plane and pilot for airshow displays as well as for personal displays/events although as you can imagine it comes at a considerable cost - it's not cheap to fly a Spitfire nor to keep one in tip top condition. Contact details are on the site.

Of all the former spitfire pilots from WW2, I can recall Geoffrey Wellum, DFC. He's had numerous interviews as well as being a published author and his novel, 'First Light,' is one I highly recommend. It's autobiographical and tells his own story of the boy who became a man during the Battle of Britain. It's a fairly frank account of some of the battles he endured and you can almost taste the fear he illustrates so well. Dotted throughout the book are moments of realisation where friends/colleagues have not returned from flight.

Mr Wellum is an incredible man and even today when he speaks, he is full of spirit and you gain an immediate sense of the younger man, the Spitfire Pilot who is almost fighting to get out.