Monday, 29 June 2015

The Battle of Britain - Full Length Documentary #WW2 #BattleofBritain75

This excellent documentary is part of the Why We Fight series and shows good footage from the Battle of Britain 1940.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Josef Frantisek - The RAF's Top Scorer In The Battle of Britain #BattleOfBritain75 #WW2

Sgt Josef Frantisek

Josef Frantisek was a Sergeant pilot in the RAF during the Battle of Britain. he was the top scorer with seventeen kills and one probable from September 2nd-30th 1940. Frantisek joined the Czech Air Force in 1934, fled to Poland in 1939 and flew with the Polish Air Force. He escaped Poland  via Romania and reached Britain in June 1940. Frantisek flew with 303 Squadron which was the most successful at shooting down German aircraft - 126 in 42 days. He had a reputation for going off on his own hunting the enemy, earning him the nickname 'Lone Wolf'. Sergeant Josef Frantisek died on 8th October 1940 when he crashed his Hurricane in Middlesex, England.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Royal Air Force v The Luftwaffe 1940 #BattleofBritain75 #WW2

This RAF poster shows the two main opponents, and their aircraft strengths in the Battle of Britain, summer 1940.

Sailor Malan's Ten Commandments #Ace #WW2 #BattleofBritain

Sailor Malan, found at:

Adolph Malan known as 'Sailor Malan' was a South African RAF pilot in World War 2. Prior to entering the Royal Air Force he had served aboard ships, hence the nickname.

Malan flew Spifires, shooting  down two Heinkel 111's in bright moonlight on the evening of 19th 20th June 1940, an impressive feat at the time. For this he received a Bar to his DFC, which he had won whilst over Dunkirk, being credited for five kills.

On August 11th 1940 Sailor Malan was given command of 74 Squadron, they were sent to intercept a raid near Dover followed by three more. By the end of the day 74 Squadron claimed 38 enemy aircraft shot down. From that day on the day was known as 'Sailor's August 11th'.  By the time the war ended Malan also won DSO and Bar, the Croix De Guerre, French Legion Of Honour, and Czechoslovak Cross 1939-1945. In 1945 his tally was; 27 enemy aircraft destroyed, 7 shared, 2 unconfirmed, 3 probables and 16 damaged.

Sailor malan is infamous for his 'Ten Commandments'. These were found posted on most airfields in World War 2.


Ten of my rules for air fighting

1. Wait until you see the whites of his eyes. Fire short bursts of one or two seconds, and only when your sights are definitely 'on'.

2. Whilst shooting think of nothing else. Brace the whole of the body, have both hands on the stick, concentrate on your ring site.

3. Always keep a sharp look-out. 'Keep your finger out'.

4. Height gives you the initiative.

5. Always turn and face the attack.

6. Make your decisions promptly. It is better to act quickly, even though your tactics are not the best.

7. Never fly straight and level for more than thirty seconds in the combat area.

8. When diving to attack, always leave a proportion of your formation above to act as top guard.

9.  INITIATIVE, AGGRESSION, AIR DISCIPLINE and TEAM WORK are words that MEAN  something in air fighting.

10. Go in quickly, - Punch hard - Get out!

Sailor Malan survived the war, left as a Group Captain and returned to South Africa. He became a spokesman for the anti-apartheid movement and died of Parkinsons disease in 1963.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

'I'd Rather Fight In A Spitfire But Fly In A Hurricane' , Ginger Lacey #WW2 #RAF Battle Of Britain Ace

Ginger Lacey, RAF Battle Of Britain Ace

Unfortunately, during World War 2, there was much snobbery in the armed forces. NCO pilots did not mix with Commissioned Officers even though they flew and fought together. They ate separately, dined and slept in separate accommodation. NCO's were just as capable of flying as Officers, this was proved by Ginger Lacey.  Lacey shot down 15 enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain and one shared.

James Ginger Lacey was a Sergeant pilot from Yorkshire who always wanted to fly. His parents made him take an apprenticeship as a chemist, he later joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve and became a civilian instructor. In France, May 1940, he shot down three German aircraft on his first sortie. During the Battle of Britain he was shot down nine times sustaining only minor injuries or escaping unscathed. Lacey was decorated with the Croix de Guerre and Distinguished Flying Medal and Bar. He received a permanent commission in the RAF after the war and stayed until his retirement in 1967. Ginger Lacey died at Bridlington in 1989. A famous quote from Lacey in an interview: I'd rather fight in a Spitfire but fly in a Hurricane' was because he said the Hurricane was made from non-essential parts - it did everything you needed it to Lacey was also an aircraft adviser for the infamous Battle of Britain film with the all star cast. Please have a look at the audio interview I found:

#WW2 The Hawker Hurricane

Hawker Hurricane Mk2, found at:

The Hawker Hurricane was the most numerous British fighter aircraft in the Battle of Britain. 1715 Hurricanes flew in the Battle of Britain, outnumbering all other fighter types. It is a shame it is overshadowed by the Supermarine Spitfire as Hurricane pilots were credited with more than eighty percent of kills in the Battle of Britain. It was the first British fighter to achieve a top speed of over 300 mph at 20,000 ft (328mph) and was armed with eight .303 Browning machine guns. RAF History of the Hawker Hurricane. It could fly whilst sustaining heavy damage and provided a stable gun platform. The wider set undercarriage made it a safer aircraft to land than the Spit. 3774 Hawker Hurricanes were made in total at the Hawker and Gloster aircraft factories during late 1939 and early 1940

Monday, 22 June 2015

June 22nd - On This Day In 1940 France Signs An Unconditional Surrender To The Axis Powers

A day of shame in French history. France signed an unconditional surrender with Italy & Germany on June 22nd 1940. Not only did France have to do this, but Hitler insisted that the venue be Compiegne, and in the very same railway carriage in which Germany signed their surrender in 1918.

In short, the French were to lay down their arms, and govern an area of France unoccupied by Germany from the spa town of Vichy. The French naval fleet was to be based in Africa, and be crewed by no more than half of its peacetime crew. (The French had promised Britain it would not be handed over to the Germans). The entire north French coast would be used by Germany, and Paris occupied. 

The day after the French signed the armistice, Hitler ordered it to be destroyed. Paris would be occupied for four years, and France would be fully occupied by Germany in November 1942. Britain was now left alone to fight on.

The carriage in which the French signed their surrender in 1940

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Resistance Trailer Official 2011 [HD] Starring Michael Sheen

I love What If? scenarios, particularly different takes on The Second World War, could Germany have invaded Britain? The book, And All The King's Men by Gordon Stevens is one of my favourites, and I was pleased to discover someone had made a film about the conquest of Wales in 1944, starring Michael Sheen. Can't wait to see it.