29(R) SQN Update
DURING THE LAST ISSUE, WE TOUCHED ON SOME 29(R) SQUADRON TRADITIONS AND, WITH THIS YEAR COMMEMORATING THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN,ITSEEMED FITTINGTOTURN OUR ATTENTION ONCE AGAIN TO A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY AND REFLECT ON SOME OF 29(R) SQUADRON’S GALLANTRY OVER THIS PERIOD.
As the display season arrives once again, the more observant of you will note that a couple of 29(R) Squadron’s Typhoons have been given a makeover. Each aircraft is known by its 2 letter tail designation and, on 29(R) Squadron, they all start with the letter ‘B’. In addition to BQ’s striking centenary art, BZ has had its entire top surface painted in a spectacular camouflage pattern to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. This jet will be flown by Flt Lt Ben Westoby- Brooks as part of a Typhoon/Spitfire synchro display which is sure to be very popular with display crowds this summer. In addition to Ben’s name on the side of the jet, there is also that of Flt Lt James Brindley Eric Nicolson VC – the only fighter pilot to be awarded this prestigious honour during the Battle of Britain. His actions are described in this humbling citation:
“During an engagement with the enemy near Southampton on 16th August 1940, Flight Lieutenant Nicolson’s aircraft was hit by four cannon shells, two of which wounded him whilst another set fire to the gravity tank. When about to abandon his aircraft owing to flames in the cockpit he sighted an enemy fighter. This he attacked and shot down, although as a result of staying in his burning aircraft he sustained serious burns to his hands, face, neck and legs. Flight Lieutenant Nicolson has always displayed great enthusiasm for air fighting and this incident shows that he possesses courage and determination of a high order. By continuing to engage the enemy after he had been wounded and his aircraft set on fire, he displayed exceptional gallantry and disregard for the safety of his own life.”
Flt Lt Nicolson recovered from his injuries and returned to the front line, flying Beaufighters in Burma during which time he was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Sadly, Nicolson was killed when his aircraft caught fire and crashed in the Bay of Bengal in May 1945.
So as you sit back with a glass of Pimms this summer and admire the graceful Typhoon/Spitfire synchro display, please take a moment to remember the heroism and bravery of those like Flt Lt Nicolson serving in Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain 75 years ago.