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OYAL AIR FORCE SQUADRONS OPERATING R IN FRANCE IN 1940 HAD A TOUGH TIME OF IT — THE INVADING GERMAN FORCES SEEMED TO PUSH ASIDE ALL OPPOSING THEM. A TIRED HAWKER HURRICANE PILOT RETURNING FROM A PATROL WAS DISCOVERING THAT THE HARD WAY.

YE GODS...AAGH!

STORY MAC MACDONALD ART CARLOS PINO COVER CARLOS PINO


4 THE LUFTWAFFE FLYER IN THE MESSERSCHMITT Bf109E THAT HAD DONE THE DAMAGE KNEW BETTER THAN TO HANG AROUND. HE GAVE HIS DAIMLER-BENZ ENGINE FULL THROTTLE, KNOWING THAT HIS SPEED OF OVER 340mph WAS ALMOST 20mph FASTER THAN ANY HURRICANE.

THERE ARE BOUND TO BE OTHER ENGLANDERS ABOUT, AND THEY WILL NOT LIKE WHAT I HAVE JUST DONE.

PILOT OFFICER JOHNNY BLOOME HAD SEEN THE INCIDENT AT CLOSE QUARTERS. THE SQUADRON HAD LOST TOO MANY OF HIS FELLOW PILOTS OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS AND HE WAS OUT FOR REVENGE.

CURSE IT, JUST MISSED AND NO MORE!

CLOSE BUT NOT CLOSE ENOUGH.


5 THE RELATIVE SAFETY OF THE CLOUDS BECKONED FOR THE OPPORTUNIST RAIDER. HE WAS NOT GOING TO RELAX YET, BUT THE THUD OF BULLETS STRIKING HIS FUSELAGE STILL CAME AS A NASTY SHOCK.

MEIN GOTT, I SAW NO ONE! WHERE IS THIS ENGLANDER?

COMING IN FAST, HIS ROLLS-ROYCE MERLIN ENGINE IN FINE TUNE AND HIS EIGHT .303 BROWNING MACHINE GUNS BLASTING, WAS THE ANSWER. HE WASN’T ENGLISH EITHER, BUT AN AMERICAN FLYING WITH THE R.A.F., PILOT OFFICER TOM FINN BY NAME.

HE’S NOT GOING ANY FURTHER...

AAGH!


6 THE R.A.F. GROUND CREW, BITTER AT SEEING THE BRITISH AIRMAN LOST, CHEERED THE KILL.

IT’S OUR AMERICAN ACE...HE’S LETHAL!

THE QUIETLY-SPOKEN TOM WAS LIKED BY ALL FOR HIS OBVIOUS ABILITY AND KNOWLEDGE OF AIRCRAFT.

WELL DONE, SIR.

I MAY PULL THE TRIGGER, BUT YOU GUYS PLAY YOUR PART TOO. JOHNNY AND THE OTHER RETURNING PILOTS HAD MADE IT DOWN SAFELY TOO. THE PRODUCT OF A MINOR PUBLIC SCHOOL, JOHNNY ALWAYS STROVE TO DO HIS BEST AND PLAY A FAIR GAME. GOOD SHOOTING UP THERE, TOM. YOU PIPPED ME TO ANOTHER KILL.

WELL, I’D SAY THAT YOU PUT HIM ON A PLATE FOR ME, SERVED HIM UP LIKE TURKEY AT THANKSGIVING.


7 TOM AND JOHNNY WERE NECK-AND-NECK WITH THEIR KILLS AND THIS LATEST ONE HAD EDGED THE AMERICAN AHEAD. THAT RANKLED WITH JOHNNY A BIT WHO, ALTHOUGH HE WAS GLAD THEY HAD THIS YANK IN THEIR RANKS, FELT HE HIMSELF SHOULD HAVE DONE BETTER.

BUT GOOD LUCK TO HIM. HIS COUNTRY IS STILL NEUTRAL AND SHOWING NO SIGN OF JOINING THE FIGHT, WHICH IS MORE CREDIT TO HIM FOR COMING OVER.

THE AMERICAN WAS NOT THE ONLY NON-BRITISH PILOT. SERGEANTS FRED EWAN AND JAN VAAL HAD HITCHED AND WORKED THEIR PASSAGE FROM NEW ZEALAND AND SOUTH AFRICA RESPECTIVELY TO DO THEIR BIT.

WELL DONE TODAY, YANK.

YES, RIGHT ON THE BUTTON!


8 THE AMERICAN AIRMAN JUST SHRUGGED.

JUST DOING MY JOB, BUDDIES. PITY WE LOST ONE OF OUR OWN BEFORE THAT.

ALWAYS QUIETLY SPOKEN, TOM WAS NEVER ONE TO BOAST. IN HIS EYES, THE LOSS OF A COMRADE OUTWEIGHED ANY SUCCESS HE HAD. AND IT WAS VERY MUCH IN CHARACTER THAT WHILE THE OTHER TWO HAD NAIL-BITING TALES TO TELL OF THEIR JOURNEYS TO JOIN THE WAR, TOM HAD JUST LANDED IN LIVERPOOL AS A PASSENGER ON A MERCHANT SHIP FROM THE STATES WITH THE MINIMUM OF FUSS. NO STETSON OR SIX GUNS. DID ANYBODY EVER TELL YOU THAT YOU’RE BORING?

YOU TWO, EVERY CHANCE YOU GET. IT TAKES ALL KINDS.

SO THEY SAY.


9 THE PILOTS KEPT THEIR MORALE HIGH WITH BANTER LIKE THAT, AND WERE IN ACTION AGAIN THE NEXT DAY. THEIR LESSER SPEED OF JUST OVER 320mph WAS A DISADVANTAGE AGAINST THE SPEEDIER 109s WHICH ALSO BOASTED TWO 7.92mm MACHINE GUNS AND TWO 20mm CANNON.

THE JERRIES KEEP ON COMING. IT’S NOT LOOKING GOOD.

A COMPETITIVE CRICKETER AND RUGBY PLAYER, JOHNNY BROUGHT THE SAME ZEAL TO COMBAT FLYING.

GOT HIM IN THE NICK OF TIME.

TEUFEL!


10 FRED AND JAN HAD JOINED UP ON THE SAME DAY AT THE SAME RECRUITING OFFICE IN BRITAIN. THEY WERE STILL WORKING AS A TEAM TO DRIVE OFF ANOTHER EMIL.

WE HAVE HIM NOW!

SHUT UP AND AIM BETTER, YOU CRAZY NEW ZEALANDER!

THE SKIRMISH BROKE UP SOON AFTER, WITH THE R.A.F. FLYERS HAVING JUST COME OFF BEST. TIRED AND DRAINED, THE HURRICANE PILOTS TURNED FOR BASE.

I HOPE WE GET SOME DECENT SHUT-EYE TONIGHT.

DON’T BANK ON IT, MATE.


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