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ROYAL AIR FORCE BATTLE of BRITAIN 75TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIVE DINNER Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 The Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.


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Contents 4

Foreword Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford KCB CBE ADC RAF, Chief of the Air Staff

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 elcome and introduction W Major General (Ret) Frederick F Roggero USAF; President, RAFMAF

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19 A symbol of friendship How the recent gift from the United Kingdom to United States of a bust of Sir Winston Churchill received RAFMAF support 20 The RAF Museum’s Centenary Program Looking forward to the Museum’s plans to mark 100 years of the RAF in 2018

A special relationship General Mark A Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force

23 “A fraternal association” The USAF/RAF Military Personnel Exchange Program, which has existed for almost 70 years

 necessary victory A Ross Mahoney, Aviation Historian, RAF Museum on the Battle of Britain

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Scramble! Historian James Holland reviews the illustrious wartime career of tonight’s guest of honor, Battle of Britain pilot Wg Cdr Tom Neil

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The National Memorial to the Few News of developments at the Battle of Britain memorial in Capel-le-Ferne, Kent, including its recently opened visitor centre

 he Royal Air Force Museum American T Foundation Swords of Honor The background to tonight’s presentations recognizing the most outstanding RAF and USAF officers on exchange over the past year

26  Sword of Honor 2015 citations Squadron Leader Ryan Wyn Beynon, RAF and Captain Rosemary Perez-Howell, USAF 30  High Flight John Gillespie Magee, Jr’s moving poem

Cover image: Spitfire P7350 (front), the only Spitfire still flying to have fought in the Battle of Britain, flies alongside Hurricane LF363, the last Hurricane to enter service with the RAF (Crown copyright) Produced by Harfield Media Edited by Barry Davies Designed by Kylie Alder

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Foreword Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford KCB CBE ADC RAF, Chief of the Air Staff

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n this 75th anniversary year of the Battle of Britain and our partner nations in executing the first Britain, I am once again delighted to attend strategic defeat of one of the most evil and tyrannical the annual dinner of the Royal Air Force regimes in modern history. That victory was important Museum American Foundation (RAFMAF). not just in preserving the United Kingdom from the Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to scourge of fascism, but also in ensuring that it could the Foundation for their continued support in act as the launching pad four years later for the Allied celebrating the partnership between our two Air armies’ drive to free Western Europe. This offensive was Forces. Through the hard work of its Directors, made possible by the combined efforts of our two Air the Foundation supports a wide range of activities, Forces over the preceding months and years. including the apprentice exchange programs with Between September 1940 and June 1941, the Royal partners within the United States, professional Air Force established three Eagle Squadrons, Nos. 71, exchanges between the RAF Museum and the 121 and 133 Squadrons, which were largely manned by Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum American citizens. Of the thousands who volunteered, here in Washington, and only 244 made it into the help in securing important The Allied armies’ drive to free Western Eagle Squadrons prior to artefacts that illustrate their being transferred Europe... was made possible by the the story of the Royal Air to the Eighth Air Force Force and its people. combined efforts of our two Air Forces of the United States This work will become Army Air Force (USAAF) over the preceding months and years increasingly important on 29 September 1942. as the RAF Museum I recently wrote to Pilot undergoes its planned programme of transformation, Officer William Corbett Slade, Roswell, NM, to thank intended to provide a fitting legacy for the 100th him for his service and to congratulate him on reaching anniversary of the formation of the Service in 2018. his 100th birthday. William joined No. 133 (Eagle) As we approach the centenary, the wider work of the Squadron on 14 April 1942. In September 1942, when American Foundation will continue to be essential in No. 133 (Eagle) Squadron was disbanded, he became a ensuring that these stories of transatlantic cooperation member of No. 336 Pursuit Squadron of the USAAF. are both preserved and shared. It was, therefore, fitting that the current Royal Air Force Tonight’s event also provides an opportunity to Exchange Officer serving with No. 336 Squadron was commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of able to attend Pilot Officer Slade’s birthday celebrations. Britain. A truly momentous battle in world history, it I offer my thanks to RAFMAF for its continued was the first decisive battle fought out entirely in the air. support and, in this anniversary year, particularly for American airmen joined us in the Battle, knowing the keeping the memories of ‘the Few’ alive here in the cause to be a just one. They joined forces with men from United States of America for future generations. RAF Museum American Foundation

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Welcome and introduction Major General (Ret) Frederick F Roggero, USAF; President, RAFMAF

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he Royal Air Force Museum American contributions have most reflected the values that our Foundation (RAFMAF) is honored and proud veterans, and the Foundation, share: service, excellence, to host the Battle of Britain Commemorative integrity and courage. It is these values that we honor in Dinner and would like to thank Chief of our young men and women of today, and encourage in the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Douglas the young people of tomorrow. Pulford KCB CBE ADC for his, and the Royal Air Force’s, continued support. This year, it is a great RECOGNIZING OUTSTANDING SERVICE privilege to recognize the 75th anniversary of the This year, it is our great privilege to, once again, Battle of Britain, and we were delighted that one of present two Swords of Honor to exchange officers from our Directors, Mr John Sessions, was able to join those both countries in recognition of the roles they play in commemorations in the United Kingdom by flying promoting relations between the RAF and the USAF, his Spitfire in a 40-strong formation of Spitfires and in keeping with the principles and values we endorse. Hurricanes – the largest gathering of those iconic The first Sword will be presented to Squadron Leader aircraft since the end of the Second World War. Ryan Beynon, who was posted to the United States in As Winston Churchill October 2013 and serves stated while the Battle was as an HH-60G pilot on 66th As Winston Churchill stated, under way, “Never in the Rescue Squadron, which field of human conflict “Never in the field of human conflict was is part of the 563rd Rescue was so much owed by so Group, 23rd Wing at Nellis so much owed by so many to so few.” many to so few.” Courage Air Force Base, Nevada. and bravery in the face The second Sword of of terrific adversity are Honor will be awarded to certainly values demonstrated by our guest tonight. Capt Rosemary Perez-Howell, Airborne Intelligence Wing Commander Thomas Francis “Ginger” Neil DFC Officer, who was selected to be the first-ever United AFC AE is a Second World War Royal Air Force fighter Kingdom Operational Test and Evaluation exchange pilot, ace and one of the few remaining survivors of officer from the RC-135 V/W Rivet Joint community, the Battle of Britain. Ginger flew 141 combat sorties and who quickly displayed outstanding leadership skills and shot down 14 enemy aircraft. We are thankful for as the Deputy Team Leader for the Project Airseeker Wing Commander Neil’s courage and bravery and are Operational Test and Evaluation Team. The directors of honored by his presence. the Foundation convey their heartiest congratulations to To commemorate his outstanding example, and this current generation of “Brothers and Sisters in arms,” those of numerous other veterans throughout the and wish them every success in their future careers. generations, RAFMAF presents ceremonial Swords of In pursuing its mission, the Royal Air Force Museum Honor to the RAF and USAF Exchange Officers whose American Foundation is also focused on education, as RAF Museum American Foundation

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© Max Mumby/Indigo /Getty Images

Prince Harry joined veterans including tonight’s honored guest, Wing Commander Tom Neil, at a recent Battle of Britain commemorative flypast held at Goodwood Aerodrome, in West Sussex, England. RAFMAF Director John Sessions was among the pilots participating in the event, flying his Spitfire as part of a 40-strong formation of Spitfires and Hurricanes

before eventually being requisitioned by the RAF in the United Kingdom while he was on tour – is one of the prize exhibits in the Milestones of Flight exhibition at the RAF Museum in Hendon. The aircraft was acquired in the United States and was painstakingly restored by the craftsmen conservators at the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre. Moreover, the Hendon site has greatly benefited from the addition of the Boeing Chinook exhibit – a custommade re-creation of the RAF Chinook ‘Bravo November’, the sterling service of which has included Distinguished Flying Cross awards to its pilots in both the Falklands campaign and in Operation Desert Storm. Thank you for attending tonight, and for your continued support of the Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation and the Royal Air Force Museum.

demonstrated by its creation and support of an exchange program for young aircraft restoration technicians to travel from the United Kingdom to work and study at the National Air and Space Museum for several weeks. The aim is to share best practices and ideas to enhance the respective collections of the RAF Museum and the National Air and Space Museum. SUPPORTING KEY EXHIBITS

The Foundation also supports a number of key exhibits at the RAF Museum, from the P-51 Mustang Donald Duck – donated by Mr Bob Tullius, a RAFMAF Director Emeritus – to the Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low, a more recent acquisition for the National Cold War Exhibition. The iconic Miles Mohawk – which is also owned by RAFMAF, and once owned by Charles Lindbergh

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A special relationship General Mark A Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force

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o all of you gathered to celebrate the of Britain, and the 244 American pilots who joined 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, them, in open defiance of American neutrality laws. I truly wish that I could be there with you Units such as the first all-American unit in RAF tonight. This is a special event, celebrating history, No. 71 (Eagle) Squadron, which lost 108 men a special relationship – 75 years of a faithful bond during that battle, or the 88th Bombardment Group, forged between airmen which lost an entire of the United States and squadron over Stuttgart This is a special event, celebrating Royal Air Forces, carefully on Black Monday, a special relationship – 75 years of a nurtured and preserved September 6th, 1943. by the members of the faithful bond forged between airmen of We stand on the shoulders Royal Air Force Museum of extraordinary airmen the United States and Royal Air Forces such as tonight’s Guest of American Foundation. This “special relationship” Honor, Wing Commander provides leadership and hope to the world. Thomas Francis “Ginger” Neil. A Second World War Our Air Forces are built on the feats of extraordinary ace with 14 enemy kills, Ginger is a hero in every sense airmen... such as the tenacious and gritty RAF pilots of the word and belongs to a treasured generation of who prevailed over a relentless adversary in the Battle fighter pilots who became national heroes. Together, these airmen defeated the Luftwaffe’s finest and shredded Nazi plans to invade Britain. Their service is the reason we celebrate today – not just to memorialize the courage they mustered in the treacherous skies above Europe, but to embrace the freedom they guaranteed for citizens of so many nations. I love airmen. Airmen like Ginger, as well as today’s airmen, who strive to be worthy of his legacy. Each day we rise and remember that “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” Like the heroes defined by that phrase, we stand ready to defend our shared values and ideals around the world. Our predecessors answered the call of freedom... together. We must be ready to do the same. This special relationship must endure. If we get it right, Ginger will be as proud of us as we are of him. Pilot Officers VC ‘Shorty’ Keough and G Tobin of No. 71 (Eagle) Air power! Squadron show off their new squadron badge in October 1940 RAF Museum American Foundation

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A necessary victory Ross Mahoney, Aviation Historian, RAF Museum

from July to October, invasion was held off and the country was able to build up its strength militarily, diplomatically and politically.

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PHASES OF THE BATTLE

In Britain, the Battle is officially recognised as having taken place between July 10th and October 31st, 1940. It is possible to identify five main phases and, according the RAF Museum’s website, the first phase ran from June 26th June to July 16th, and consisted of scattered and limited day and night attacks and mine-laying sorties, directed mainly against ports and shipping,and towns with aircraft factories. Phase Two, from July 17th to August 12th, saw increasing and larger daylight attacks against shipping in the English Channel, ports along the “What General Weygand called the ‘Battle of France’ is South and East coasts and some coastal airfields, with over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.” increased night attacks against the West, Midlands and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, June 18th, 1940 East Coast, RAF facilities and the aircraft industry. Phase Three, from August 13th to September 6th, n his ‘Finest Hour’ speech, Churchill stressed the saw large-scale daylight attacks against RAF airfields Royal Air Force’s (RAF) role in maintaining in south-east England, designed to exhaust the RAF’s control of the air during the forthcoming battle. ability to defend. Phase Four, between September 7th This was essential because, without this vital and October 2nd, saw increasingly large-scale day pre-condition, Germany could not invade. and night attacks against This was recognised by the Germans. In Fuhrer By denying the Luftwaffe control of the London. The final phase, from October 3rd to 31st, Directive No. 16 of July skies over Britain, the RAF ensured that, saw smaller-scale daylight 16th, 1940, Adolf Hitler fighter-bomber attacks, declared: “The English Air during the vital months from July to while large-scale night Force must be so reduced October, invasion was held off attacks continued, mostly morally and physically that against London. This was it is unable to deliver any also the beginning of the ‘Blitz’ on the capital and other significant attack against the German crossing.” cities and towns, which lasted until May 1941. Herein lies the significance of the Battle of Britain. During the inter-war years, it was widely believed that By denying the Luftwaffe control of the skies over the bomber would always get through. For the attacker, Britain, the RAF ensured that, during the vital months

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A formation of RAF Hawker Hurricanes of No. 1 Squadron is followed by Supermarine Spitfires of No. 266 Squadron

the task was to inflict sufficient damage on the enemy to bring about his defeat, while for the defender it was to destroy enough of the attacking force to make it impossible for the campaign to continue. As such, the Germans needed to get sufficient bombers to the targets so that they could inflict crippling damage. For the British, the aim was to deny the Luftwaffe freedom of action by attacking the incoming raids. This was to be achieved by getting through the Luftwaffe’s protective screen of fighters, then dispersing and destroying the bombers. Luftwaffe fighters, in formation high above the bombers, made the task extremely difficult. The RAF believed that the Hawker Hurricanes could attack the bombers, while the Supermarine Spitfire dealt with German fighters. However, once combat was joined, it rarely remained so clinically divided.

The presence of radar also removed the need for continuous air patrols. The Germans recognised the importance of the air defence network, and German bombers targeted radar and sector stations. But by late August and early September 1940, the Germans believed these attacks ineffective and decided to concentrate on the bombing of British cities. This inability to grasp the vital role that radar played in British air defence enabled the RAF to retain an advantage in the air.

THE IMPORTANCE OF RADAR

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A key advantage for the RAF was the development of the Dowding System and radar. The development of radar was important, as it allowed Britain’s strategic air defence network to provide information to RAF Fighter Command and for the concentration of assets in the most economical manner to combat Luftwaffe operations. This concentration ranged from the efficient deployment of single squadrons from No. 11 Group to the disposition of larger wing formations from No. 12 Group, which began to have an effect in September 1940.

Radar operators monitor the skies above the English Channel from the wooden receiver hut at Ventnor on the Isle of Wight

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Wellington crews of Bomber Command study maps at a briefing with their station commander in September 1940

During the Battle, one-fifth of Fighter Command’s aircrew came from overseas and 16 nations were represented in its squadrons. A total of 126 New Zealanders, 98 Canadians, 33 Australians and 25 South Africans participated. Three Rhodesians, a Jamaican, a Barbadian and a Newfoundlander joined them. Crews from the Fleet Air Arm were also involved in the Battle.

While Fighter Command defended the British Isles against German attacks, Bomber Command continually assaulted German military and industrial targets, placing a significant check on Hitler’s invasion plans. Indeed, Churchill’s ‘few’ speech highlighted the EXILES FROM EUROPE importance of Bomber Command operations. After the fall of France, the RAF welcomed into its ranks Although some historians have suggested that the air exiles from German-occupied Europe. In all, 145 Poles, battle was not quite the ‘narrow margin’ supposed, or 88 Czechoslovaks, 29 Belgians, 13 Frenchmen and an that the Royal Navy played an important deterrent role, Austrian flew in the Battle, and many of these proved this ignores the simple fact that Britain was the centre of to be excellent pilots. Though only operational for six the Empire and that, had the Luftwaffe gained control of weeks, the Polish No. 303 the air, a German invasion Squadron claimed 126 While Fighter Command defended the would certainly have been victories to become the topattempted. Indeed, had British Isles against German attacks, scoring RAF unit. The most Hitler succeeded, it is successful RAF pilot, with Bomber Command continually assaulted unlikely that the United 17 kills, was Sergeant Josef States would have joined German military and industrial targets the war against Germany, Frantisek, a Czech national. Though their countries which was vital to victory. were neutral, 10 Irish and 11 United States citizens Simply put, the RAF, including Bomber and Coastal fought in the Battle. Pilot Officer William ‘Billy’ Fiske Command, stopped invasion from ever being a prospect. was the first American airman to be killed and a The Battle was a necessary victory that eventually plaque to his memory was later unveiled in St Paul’s provided the springboard for future operations, as Britain Cathedral, dedicated to: “An American citizen who became the unsinkable aircraft carrier from which the died so that England might live.” Allies were able to project their military power. RAF Museum American Foundation

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Scramble! In his introduction to the memoir of tonight’s guest of honor, Tom Neil, historian James Holland reviews the fighter pilot’s illustrious wartime career and recalls his meetings with one of the last of the Few

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n a wonderfully warm and summery July evening back in 2007, the Battle of Britain Fighter Association held their Sunset Dinner at Bentley Priory in Stanmore, north-west London. This lovely Georgian mansion, perched on a hill overlooking much of the city, was the former Headquarters of RAF Fighter Command. It was from where Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding had created the world’s first fully co-ordinated air defence system in the late 1930s; it was also where he had commanded the Battle of Britain. And once the Luftwaffe

had been beaten and the invasion scare had diminished, the house continued to be the base of Fighter Command for the rest of the war and, beyond that, remained one of the RAF’s principal command posts. Now, however, more than 60 years after the end of the war, it was about to be sold off by the Ministry of Defence. The Battle of Britain Fighter Association was open to any pilot or aircrew that had flown in the battle and, in the years that followed the war, Bentley Priory was regularly used as a venue for gatherings. A SPIRITUAL HOME

It was, in many ways, the spiritual home of these men, so the Sunset Dinner was bound to be a particularly poignant evening. Many of the Few had long since departed, but there were a good number there that evening, and not least Tom Neil, who, although recovering from a hip replacement and temporarily in a wheelchair, was in good spirits. Certainly, with his thick wave of white hair and mischievous eyes, and looking impeccable in his black tie and row of medals, he still managed to cut a dash and sit ramrod straight, even though he was a few days shy of 87. Many who lived through the war years had extraordinary experiences and performed incredible feats of valor, and this was certainly true of Tom, who finished the war with no less than 14 aerial victories to his name. This made him almost a triple ace, and to put this in some perspective, fewer than five per cent of fighter pilots scored the magic five required to become an ace. Those who shot down more than 10 were considerably fewer than that; Tom has 14 to his name, putting him amongst the most successful Allied fighter

In April 1939, 18-year-old Tom Neil is pictured holding the propeller of his Tiger Moth at Barton Airfield in Manchester

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(Left to right) Percy Burton, ‘Butch’ Barton, Gerald Lewis, ‘Ozzie’ Crossey, Tom Neil, John Beazley, John Grandy, George Barclay and Keith Lofts, photographed by the press on September 21st, 1940. Perhaps the most widely circulated of all Battle of Britain photographs, this picture was also distributed among the Luftwaffe as representing the type of RAF pilots they were up against

other hand, was “Flight Officer” – a reference not only to her days in the WAAF during the war, but also to her lower rank than his own. In all my conversations, Tom has never been anything other than sparkling company. Like many from that greatest generation, he is always self-effacing, and the humor is never far away; the glint of amusement can usually be seen in his eyes. He is also always erudite and perceptive. These traits, combined with my own awe for his achievements, make him sensationally good company. Time with Tom is always a treat.

pilots of the war. As I write this, he is Britain’s highestscoring living ace. He was also twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, given for valor, as well as an Air Force Cross and the US Bronze Star. None of these medals were handed out lightly. He flew throughout the Battle of Britain, in the Siege of Malta, and in June 1944, whilst serving with the Americans, was among the very first fighter pilots to land back in France. Later, he continued to put himself in the face of danger by becoming a test pilot – a notoriously hazardous and often lethal occupation. I had first met Tom some years before while I was researching the Siege of Malta. He had been a Hurricane pilot out there in 1941 and so had suggested I visit him at his home in Norfolk. His wife, Eileen, was every bit as charming as him, and they both still had wonderfully sparky banter with each other. Tom was “Neil” whenever she was attempting to be stern with him; she, on the

A FAMILIAR SIGHT

At Bentley Priory that evening in July 2007, there were drinks and then we were ushered out onto the balcony to watch the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight perform a fly-past. One Hurricane and one Spitfire flew over then began twirling and dancing around the sky and

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Air Officer Commanding, Malta, suggested that a I then glanced down to see Tom, still in his wheelchair, bad workman blamed his tools, Tom got very near to stuck behind one of the famous stone pillars and punching him in the face. Tom left the island with a unable to see anything of this display. sense of enormous relief that he was still alive – it was “Do you want me to move you?” I asked him. Tom’s a miracle that he was – and with the determination eyes twinkled. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I know what never to set foot on Malta ever again. they look like.” That was certainly true enough, and That didn’t happen. Age by the time he left Malta mellowed him and he has in December 1941, he had Tom was just 18 when he since returned to the island seen enough of Hurricanes joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve numerous times, and has to last him a lifetime. There written his wonderfully is no doubt that it was a fine and still only 19 for much of honest and vivid account of fighter aircraft in its day and the Battle of Britain his time there during the war. performed very well during His chapters about Malta, as the Battle of Britain, but even with the rest of his writing, are suffused with his own by 1940, it was becoming obsolete. By the time Tom voice; reading his words, one can hear him saying them. arrived on Malta in the summer of 1941, it was being If Tom has spent much of his retirement thinking woefully outclassed by the latest Messerschmitt 109s. and writing about those wartime years, it is hardly Tom and his beleaguered colleagues, stuck on that surprising. He was just 18 when he joined the RAF island battling overwhelming enemy bombers and Volunteer Reserve and still only 19 for much of the fighters, as well as intense heat, mosquitoes, dysentery Battle of Britain. Most young men in Britain today and insufficient supplies of food and drink, needed spend their late teens and early twenties living a life the latest Spitfire Mk Vs, which at the time were free of most responsibilities; when I look back on my filling squadrons back home in Britain with some own life as a young adult it is embarrassing how feckless abundance. This was blindingly obvious to all the pilots, but as far as Tom was concerned, not enough was being done to get them to Malta. So angry and Tom Neil, pictured in the cockpit of Hurricane GH-F, frustrated was he that, when Air-Vice Marshal Lloyd, V7313 of No. 249 Squadron

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Nor is there any drum-beating or nostalgic glorification of the past, which helps make his book stand out from many other wartime memoirs. Rather, he is quick to criticize where he believes it due and equally happy to apportion praise when he believes it to be deserved. It was Tom, for example, who first alerted me to the fact that the Spitfire in 1940 was not necessarily

and hopeless I was. Yet Tom was flying for his life, and for Britain’s future. The responsibility on his shoulders was enormous. Being involved in the biggest global conflict in the history of the world, and to have seen what he witnessed, unquestionably had a profound and lasting effect.

Tom was flying for his life, and for Britain’s future. The responsibility on his shoulders was enormous

WISDOM AND PERSPECTIVE

the finest fighter in the world. Rather, he was adamant that accolade belonged to the Messerschmitt 109. “The 109 could do the three things needed in air-to-air combat better than any other aircraft at the time,” he said. ‘It could climb quicker than any other plane, had a combination of cannons and machine guns that had 55 seconds of ammunition, and could dive out of the way quicker than the Spitfire.”

Time, however, has given Tom the chance to analyse his experiences and it is this, coupled with rare writing skills, that have combined to make Scramble! such an enthralling and compelling read. The young man he once was leaps off every page, but there is wisdom and perspective there, too. We feel the immediacy of his experiences, but we also know a lifetime’s wisdom is infusing those memories.

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(Above left) Tom with colleague George Barclay; (left) Tom’s Battle of Britain log book; (above) Tom and his wife, Eileen, at Westminster Abbey for a Battle of Britain memorial service

In contrast, he pointed out, Spitfires and Hurricanes had just 14.7 seconds of ammunition. He was in his 90th year when he told me that, and did so with the well-reasoned lucidity and detail of a man half his age. Air-to-air fighting, he told me, was not about fancy manoeuvres and out-turning your enemy; if your plane could climb, dive and pack a bigger punch than the opposition, that was enough.

but all the squadron touched down again safely by simply dodging the potholes. “You need an awful lot of bombs,” he said, “to knock out an entire grass airfield.” It seems incredible that before so very long, that extraordinary generation will be gone; they are fading fast. We are lucky, however, very lucky, that someone as exceptional as Tom has written about his wartime experiences. Not only is his adventure a thrilling read, it is also one told in a very distinct and entertaining voice. Long years after the last of the wartime pilots has finally departed, Tom will continue to be with us. We will be able to read this remarkable book and hear him still.

AIRFIELD UNDER ATTACK

It was also Tom who pointed out the Luftwaffe simply never had enough bombers in 1940. Most Battle of Britain veterans remember the terrible sense of being perpetually and hopelessly outnumbered, but Tom told me about flying from North Weald on September 3rd, 1940, which showed how he had rationally analysed his experiences in a way most in his shoes never had. That day, he and 11 others from 249 Squadron took off in their Hurricanes only to see the airfield come under attack and disappear under a mass of smoke and debris. He wondered how was ever going to get back down again, but then cheerfully explained that not only he

‘Scramble! The Dramatic Story of a Young Fighter Pilot’s Experiences during the Battle of Britain and the Siege of Malta’ by Tom Neil is published in hardback by Amberley Publishing (ISBN 978-1-4456-4951-1), price £25. Text reproduced with kind permission

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The National Memorial to the Few Capel-le-Ferne, Kent

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onceived as a simple place of remembrance for the heroes of the Battle of Britain, the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-leFerne in Kent has grown in importance over the years and is welcoming rising numbers of visitors. Far from declining in significance as the events of 1940 slide further into history, the bravery and sacrifice of the men of the RAF seems instead to be growing in importance within the nation’s collective memory. While some felt that the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain – the last major commemoration at which there was a significant number of the Few around to tell their story – would mark the beginning of a decline in interest, the reverse has been true. The numbers of people visiting the Memorial, which centres on a stone carving of an airman looking out across the English Channel, continues to rise, and events such as the annual Memorial Day attract large crowds. The Memorial site, which sits atop Kent’s famous White Cliffs – although closer to Folkestone than Dover – also boasts full-size replicas of a Hurricane and Spitfire and the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall, which lists the names of the fewer than 3,000 men awarded the Battle of Britain Clasp. The realisation that the story of the Battle might become dimmed once the Few were no longer around to tell it led the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust to focus on helping the veterans leave a lasting legacy. In 2010, as the 70th anniversary drew to a close, the Trust came up with the idea of building a new visitor centre at the site that would include a high-tech, audiovisual ‘experience’ telling the story of the Battle. The plan had the wholehearted support of veterans, with

A sculpture of an airman looking out to sea, in front of the new visitor centre at the National Memorial to the Few in Kent

Wing Commander Bob Foster DFC, then life Vice President of the Trust and Chairman of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, particularly keen. It was Wg Cdr Foster who took to the controls of a mechanical digger in September 2013 to begin work on the Spitfire-wing-shaped visitor centre, which features a classroom area as well as The Scramble Experience. Although Wg Cdr Foster’s death in July 2014, aged 94, meant he was not able to see it, his dream of a building that would tell the story of the Battle on behalf of him and his colleagues came true this year when The Wing was opened by Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. Visitors have been flocking to enjoy, and learn from, the Experience, while school parties have made good use of the education centre as the Trust continues to protect and enhance the memory of the Few.

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A symbol of friendship The gift of a bust of Sir Winston Churchill from the United Kingdom to the Pentagon receives RAFMAF support

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n May 6th this year, a magnificent bronze The bust will constitute a permanent reminder to the bust of Britain’s wartime leader, Sir many thousands who each week traverse the Pentagon’s Winston Churchill, took its place in the D-Day Corridor of the close and special ties of friendship Pentagon at a magnificent ceremony in the between the United Kingdom and the United States. Hall of Heroes. This gift from the Government of the “The UK is the first ally whom we seek support from, United Kingdom to the Government of the United States and guidance”, Deputy Secretary Work stated at the was made possible by the support of Royal Air Force unveiling, while General Houghton recalled Churchill’s Museum American Foundation (RAFMAF) Chairman final words to his ministers when leaving office in 1955: John Michaelson and Vice Chairman Alan Spence. “Never be separated from the Americans.” The bust was presented by UK Chief of the Defence The Churchill bust initiative was launched several Staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton to US Deputy years ago by then British Defence Attaché to Secretary of Defence Robert Work in a colorful Washington, Air Vice Marshal Michael Harwood, who unveiling ceremony attended by most of the service enlisted the support of RAFMAF directors and engaged chiefs of both countries. RAFMAF was represented with leading British sculptor Vivien Mallock. by John Michaelson and its President, Major General After its completion, it was first unveiled by General (Ret) Frederick Roggero USAF. Houghton for a British audience in Whitehall at the The timing could not have been more appropriate – Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Britain’s oldest during a year marking the military think tank, 75th anniversary of the where Churchill spent Battle of Britain and the much time when not 70th anniversary of the holding high office. Allied victories in Europe The Churchill bust and the Far East. was displayed for several Moreover, the unveiling months at RUSI, before formed the ceremonial being transported across conclusion to a US-UK the Atlantic on a Royal Combined Chiefs of Staff Air Force Hercules on meeting – a body that was its final journey to the established by Churchill Pentagon, where it will and President Roosevelt stand in perpetuity as a during the dark days of symbol of the deep and (Left to right) RAFMAF Chairman John Michaelson, its President, the Second World War to enduring ties between Major General (Ret) Frederick Roggero, and Vice President, co-ordinate their efforts. two great nations. Stuart K Archer, alongside the Churchill bust at the Pentagon RAF Museum American Foundation

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The RAF Museum’s Centenary Program Plans to mark 100 years of the Royal Air Force

We will tell these stories in different ways, with the understanding that not everyone enjoys the same kind of museum. Some people respond to text, some people to videos, and others to interactive experiences. Most respond to a mixture of all three! We have started trying out our new approach with the award-winning First World War in the Air Exhibition. There, you will see a rich selection of our objects on display, alongside the aircraft, in a themed exhibition within the context of a single time period, so that each object has coherence with its neighbours. Explanations of the development and role of air power run alongside human stories drawn from our archives. There are also One of the RAF Museum’s ‘Explainers’ provides a party of interactive, hands-on experiences around the gallery. children with background information on the many exhibits All of this has been professionally designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, a highly respected he Royal Air Force celebrates its 100th museum exhibition team, and the result looks fantastic. anniversary in 2018 and the RAF Museum We intend to roll out this interpretive method across is undertaking an exciting renewal our sites in a new development strategy that divides the program to mark this centenary. RAF story into ‘chapters’. The Centenary Program Such chapters have is all about looking to the The Centenary Program is all about already been delivered in future and clearly telling looking to the future and telling the story Cosford for the National the story of the Royal Air Cold War Exhibition, and Force through the stories of the RAF through the stories of its in London and Cosford of its people and our people and our world-class collections for the First World War in world-class collections. the Air exhibitions. Our audiences are For the Centenary Program, we will be concentrating changing. The visitors to our site, particularly in on two new exhibitions: an introduction to the RAF, London, are younger, more diverse and have much framed by the first 100 years of the world’s first less connection with many of the stories in our independent air force, and a look at what the RAF does Museum. We have to become the storyteller that helps now and will be doing in the future. This will allow us a new generation understand the background and to bring the RAF story up to date, with reference to the significance of our fantastic collection.

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past 25 years of operation, which don’t currently feature in the Museum. It will help us to collect some of the ‘born digital’ material that has been generated in this time, such as photography and email correspondence, which are in more danger of being lost forever than material dating from the 1940s.

The story of the First World War in the Air is revealed in the Claude Grahame-White Hangar at the RAF Museum, London

PLANNING AND REPURPOSING

for picnicking, for museum events, and a place for our many young visitors to let off steam in new play areas. By the early summer of 2018, we will have a modern and coherent site that helps to tell the story of the RAF as we start to celebrate the next 100 years.

There is a great deal of planning involved to get all the details in place before we go on site, but the physical work will begin in 2017. We will be refurbishing the derelict old stores building at the back of the site and turning it into a new restaurant. This original RAFbuilt brick building, constructed in 1931, will respond extremely well to this development. There will be many aircraft moves around the site as we start bring together airframes that can tell a coherent story within their historic contexts. Our car park will be relocated to the front of the site, so that the centre can be landscaped and become completely free of cars. The area will also be made much greener, so that it will become a free and open resource

Visitors can view iconic aircraft displayed in dramatic fashion at the National Cold War Exhibition, RAF Museum, Cosford

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“A fraternal association” The USAF/RAF Military Personnel Exchange Program

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ow, while still pursuing the method of realizing our overall strategic concept, I come to the crux of what I have travelled here to say. Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of world organization, will be gained without what I have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples. This means a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States of America. Ladies and gentlemen, this is no time for generality, and I will venture to the precise. Fraternal association requires not only the growing friendship and mutual understanding between our two vast but kindred systems of society, but the continuance of the intimate relations between our military advisers, leading to common study of potential dangers, the similarity of weapons and manuals of instructions, and to the interchange of officers and cadets.” The above words are taken from Winston Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech, delivered at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, on March 5th, 1946. In his speech, he clearly articulated the need for an exchange of personnel in order to glean mutual understanding. Five years later, under the watchful eyes of General Hoyt Vandenberg and Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor, the USAF/RAF Military Personnel Exchange Program was created. Initially, the Program permitted 50 exchange posts in each Air Force. In recent years, that figure has reduced and there are currently 36 exchange posts in each Air Force. These are regularly reviewed to ensure that they meet both the needs of the donor Air Forces and their national military strategies. Participation in the Military Personnel Exchange Program is on a selective basis, with the parent Air Force solely responsible for the selection of its Exchange personnel. To be considered, an individual must be well versed in the current practices, technical training,

Air Marshal Sir John Slessor and General Hoyt Vandenberg were the first guardians of the Military Personnel Exchange Program

and doctrine of their organization, and be particularly qualified for the position through experience. Moreover, they must have demonstrated capabilities for future positions of greater responsibility and possess the grade, skill, training, and academic qualifications required. One early exchange officer at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs (April 1960–June 1962) was Squadron Leader JAG Slessor, son of Sir John Slessor. In his end-oftour report, he concluded: “I can only add that I hope that the frequent interchange of personnel between our two countries will be the means of our maintaining the friendship of so many officers, their families and civilians whom we have come to know so well. I share the conviction shared by my predecessor that the Exchange Scheme is an invaluable program and it is clearly vital that the presence of exchange officers should be continued.” Almost 70 years on from Churchill’s speech, his vision of “intimate relations between our military advisers, leading to common study of potential dangers, the similarity of weapons and manuals of instructions, and to the interchange of officers and cadets” remains valid and will do so for many years.

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The Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation

Swords of Honor

(Left to right) 2014 USAF Sword of Honor recipient Major Timothy A Kipp; RAFMAF Director Emeritus Bob Tullius; then Under Secretary, USAF, Eric Fanning; Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford; and 2014 RAF Sword winner Flight Lieutenant Drew Buxton

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form of an eagle. A stamped, gold-plated brass cartouche bears the bird emblem of the RAF. The Sword also bears the inscription: “Oh, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand” – a line from Francis Scott Key’s 1814 poem, The Star-Spangled Banner. It was flown from England to Everett, WA, by RAFMAF Board member John Sessions in his Consolidated B-25 Mitchell Grumpy. This sword now hangs in the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. The second Sword, displayed in the Pentagon, is an exact duplicate, apart from the inscription from Winston Churchill regarding the RAF pilots, who came from many nations including the United States, to fly in the Battle of Britain. It reads: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Each winner of the Sword receives a miniature replica. Last year’s recipients of the RAFMAF Swords of Honor were Flight Lieutenant Drew Buxton, RAF, and Major Timothy A Kipp, USAF.

n 2009, the Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation (RAFMAF) instituted the Sword of Honor, to be presented annually to the RAF Officer on exchange with the USAF who has contributed most in the previous year to relations between our two great nations and their air forces. In 2012, another Sword was added to recognize the most outstanding USAF officer on exchange with the RAF. The Swords, dedicated by RAFMAF Board member Tim Manna, a US citizen residing in the UK, are an embodiment of the Foundation’s mission to strengthen and educate present and future generations about the importance of the special UK/US relationship within the field of aviation. They recognize the excellent work of exchange officers on both sides of the Atlantic. The original Sword is the same as that of an RAF officer, made by British specialist Pooley’s Swords. It has a single-edged straight blade with a gold-plated brass hilt, white fish-skin grip and a brass pommel in the

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Swords of Honor 2015 Squadron Leader Ryan Wyn Beynon, RAF Captain Rosemary Perez-Howell, USAF

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Swords of Honor 2015

Squadron Leader Ryan Wyn Beynon, RAF 2015 Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation RAF Sword of Honor Recipient

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quadron Leader Ryan Beynon was posted to the United States in October 2013 and is employed as an HH-60G pilot on 66th Rescue Squadron, which is part of the 563rd Rescue Group, 23rd Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Beynon completed the rigorous 20-week HH-60G Pave Hawk Mission Pilot Initial Qualification Course in June 2014 as the only Distinguished Graduate. The Course is designed to qualify the USAF’s rotarywing rescue pilots in the tactical use of the stateof-the-art weapon system and involves 279 hours of academic study, six examinations, 18 simulator events, 24 flying sorties and four evaluations. Beynon exceeded the rigorous standards of the Course, maintaining an outstanding 98.3 per cent Grade Point Average throughout the demanding academic phase. He also received a rare 100 per cent Flight Commander ranking, due to his excellent performance throughout training. On arrival on 66th Rescue Squadron in June 2014, Beynon set about quickly achieving Combat Ready status prior to deploying to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, as part of the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron and the 455th Expeditionary Operations Group in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Freedom Sentinel and Resolute Support. Beynon’s deployment was the first-ever combat deployment for a British pilot flying the HH-60G Pave Hawk. Early in the detachment, on the evening of October 8th, 2014, Beynon secured another first when he flew a high-risk casualty evacuation sortie in support of Special Operations Task Force operations; despite the presence of numerous insurgent weapon systems, he flawlessly executed an urban hoist rescue of a 13-year-old Afghan boy who had been caught in the crossfire between

Afghan/US forces and insurgents, suffering a shrapnel wound and bleeding from the back of his neck. The boy survived and, in Beynon’s own words, “that one ‘save’ has fulfilled any possible expectations I could have had of this exchange as a whole.” Not content with that rescue, Beynon subsequently saved another life when he was scrambled on an urgent casualty evacuation mission that required precise navigation in an urban environment in appalling weather conditions to recover a member of the USAF with a suspected brain haemorrhage. Back at Nellis, Beynon has remained in the thick of things. He was the first to respond to a tragic incident on the Squadron and has since been involved in setting up a mentor scheme to ensure that those closely involved with the incident, and those involved in similar events in the future, are correctly supported. Aside from showing a duty of care to Squadron personnel, the mentor scheme ensured continued Squadron output and raised morale. In sum, Beynon is an exceptional aviator who has used his undoubted flying skills to save lives in an operational theatre. Moreover, he has transferred similar skills away from the cockpit and demonstrated an extremely high duty of care to 66th Rescue Squadron personnel. He is an outstanding Ambassador for both the RAF and wider UK Defence. In recognition of his efforts over the past 12 months, Squadron Leader Beynon has been selected as this year’s winner of the Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation RAF Sword of Honor.

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Swords of Honor 2015

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Swords of Honor 2015

Captain Rosemary Perez-Howell, USAF 2015 Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation USAF Sword of Honor Recipient

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apt Rosemary Perez-Howell, Airborne Intelligence Officer, was selected over her peers to serve as the first-ever UK Operational Test and Evaluation exchange officer from the RC-135 V/W Rivet Joint (RJ) community. Her expertise and operational experience have been invaluable in support of the £1.4 billion ($2.1 billion) UK acquisition of the RJ and associated Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability, under the Airseeker program. As the Deputy Team Leader for the Project Airseeker Operational Test and Evaluation Team, she effectively collaborated against a backdrop of a politically and operationally sensitive program, was promoted internally to Team Leader, and provided critical expertise at a key point in the path to fielding an operational capability. While expertly leading a diverse military and civilian team, Capt Perez-Howell managed and supervised a series of highly technical trials, both on the ground and in the air, and repeatedly displayed the ability to weave together the multiple strands that are essential to successful Test and Evaluation, with direct benefit to UK operational capability. Her work on the assessment of the interim ground support elements highlighted potentially serious risks to the Airseeker program. As a direct result of her trials work, key deficiencies were corrected prior to deployment of the capability. A superb ambassador for her Service and her country, Captain Perez-Howell has repeatedly provided a direct liaison with USAF units in both the UK and US, securing appropriate access to facilities, information and people that has been critical to the UK RJ Operational Test and Evaluation team’s success. She was also an integral contributor to the UK RJ crew work-up and training phases prior to the deployment of UK RJ in support of

first Op Herrick and, later, Op Shader. She routinely supported briefings informing both USAF and RAF senior leadership of UK RJ capability assurance and status. Stretching well beyond her intelligence background and trials remit, Capt Perez-Howell took on the task of producing the inaugural Concept of Use (CONUSE) for the Airseeker capability – a key element of successful delivery of the program. As lead author of the CONUSE, Capt Perez-Howell ensured the delivery of a robust and high-quality product ahead of schedule and was lauded by the two-star HQ for an outstanding piece of staff work. During a two-month detachment as the deployed UK RJ Liaison Officer within the CAOC at Al Udeid AB, Qatar, and given her RJ operational knowledge, Capt PerezHowell influenced UK RJ operational missions across the Middle East that enabled the platform to conduct combat missions in contested airspace hunting ISIL. Capt Perez-Howell has also fully integrated in the RAF and wider UK community by working as Deputy Officer in Charge of the School Engagement Team, educating local students on the roles, responsibilities, missions and history of the RAF. She was also selected for the RAF women’s rugby union team and scored a try in the Services Championship match against the Navy. In recognition of her superb efforts, Capt PerezHowell has been selected as the 2015 winner of the RAF Museum American Foundation Sword of Honor.

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Swords of Honor 2015

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High Flight Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air... Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace Where never lark, nor even eagle flew – And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God. John Gillespie Magee, Jr. September 3rd, 1941

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The Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation One Metro Center, 700 12th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 Tel: +1 (202) 558 5121 Email: usfoundation@rafmuseum.org Web: www.rafmaf.com

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RAFMAF Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Commemorative Dinner  

Souvenir publication for the RAF Museum American Foundation Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Commemorative Dinner

RAFMAF Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Commemorative Dinner  

Souvenir publication for the RAF Museum American Foundation Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Commemorative Dinner