With the official 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain approaching this September, the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force have decided to commemorate “The Few” by painting some of their aircraft in celebratory schemes. The RAF have chosen to mark a 29 Squadron Eurofighter Typhoon with colors mimicking the Hawker Hurricane Mk.I that James Nicolson flew during his time with 249 Squadron at the height of the Battle of Britain. Nicolson earned the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for gallantry, during the fierce fighting on August 16th, 1940… the only Victoria Cross awarded to a fighter pilot during WWII. His Hurricane already ablaze and with shrapnel wounds from 20mm cannon strikes via a Messerschmitt Bf-110 attack, Nicolson was in the process of bailing out from his crippled fighter when another enemy aircraft swung into view. Rather than falling free to safety, Nicolson slipped back into the inferno that was his cockpit to fire his guns at the Bf-110 in front of him… keeping the guns firing until the Messerschmitt fell from the sky. Nicolson then parachuted to safety, but only after having sustained serious burns to his hands, face, neck and legs. His brush with death not over, members of the British Home Guard mistakenly fired upon him as he floated down to earth, thinking he was the enemy, thought thankfully missing him. It took Nicolson over a year to recover from his wounds. He did return to combat though, flying Bristol Beaufighters in Burma as CO of 27 Squadron. Sadly, his fortunes ran out on May 2nd, 1945, when a 355 Squadron Consolidated Liberator he was flying in as an observer caught fire and crashed in the Bay of Bengal. His body was never found.
WarbirdsNews wishes to thank Gary Parsons and our friends at Global Aviation Resource for the marvelous photographs of the commemorative Typhoon which grace this article!
As Gary Parson’s marvelous photographs show, the commemorative Typhoon will be appearing at airshows this summer and perform a synchro-pair routine with one of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Supermarine Spitfires.
The Synchro Pair is scheduled to appear at the following shows this summer…
May 3rd – Abingdon Air & Country Show
June 13th – Biggin Hill Festival of Flight
June 14th – RAF Cosford Air Show
July 17th – 19th – Royal International Air Tattoo (RAF Fairford)
July 23rd – RAF Marham Family & Friends Day
August 29th/30th – Dunsfold Wings & Wheels
The commemorative Typhoon will be appearing by itself at many more air shows of course. For further details please click HERE.
Not to be left out, the Royal Canadian Air Force has painted up one of their flight demonstration CF-118 Hornets to commemorate the Battle of Britain as well. Over a hundred Canadians flew and fought in the skies over England during the Battle of Britain with several hundred more braving the constant bombings at as maintenance and support crew on the ground. The Battle of Britain was truly an international fight against the Nazi scourge, with dozens of countries represented in the RAF fighter squadrons. The CF-18 Hornet Demo Team will be appearing at shows across Canada, and even at a few locations in the United States. To see their schedule, please click HERE.
To commemorate this special anniversary paint scheme Aviation Graphic has realized this collectors lithograph, click on the image to purchase it.