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"Scruffy" Weir

This is an original photograph of a World War II pilot performing a handstand on the wing of his Hurricane fighter aircraft after returning from a mission. When originally purchased, the identity of the pilot was listed as unknown, but some historical detective work has since identified him. The pilot pictured is Flying Officer John Gordon "Scruffy" Weir, a Canadian who flew with No. 401 Squadron. Weir was born in 1919 and attended Upper Canada College before the war. He enlisted for war service on 4 September 1939 when he was just 20 years old. After attending flight training in Winnipeg, he earned his wings and was posted to No. 401 Squadron at Lincolnshire, near the Scottish border in

Gold Memorial Locket to Battle of Britain Pilot Officer LC Murch

This gold locket containing a rare photograph of the Battle of Britain pilot, LC Murch, was recently purchased at auction. It was obtained, along with other items, from the estate of the young pilot’s childhood friend and sweetheart. Leonard Charles Murch of Plymstock, Devon was born on 19 February 1921 at Plymouth, the son of a veterinary surgeon. Because of his initials, he was known to his friends as “Elsie.” He was educated at Plymouth College and joined the RAF on a short service commission in February 1939. After completing his basic flying courses, Murch joined the newly-reformed 253 Squadron at Manston on 6th November 1939. Murch went to France as a member of 'A' Flight when it was

Rare Photo Reveals Interesting Tale of Service & Sacrifice

While putting together my book on the RAF in the Second World War, I uncovered many incredible photographs – too many to put between the covers of a single book. One of those rare photos, which I was able to use in the book, depicts Hurricane fighters at Duxford Airfield in England and was taken in 1941. The unique coding painted on the side of the aircraft in the immediate foreground provided the opportunity for research. The research revealed an interesting history of both service and loss. Hurricane number Z2588 was one of the first improved MkIIC models of the aircraft to be produced in February 1941. Because the Hurricane proved so effective in the Battle of Britain, improvements wer

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