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Thread: Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

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    Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

    Remembering all those brave young men who fought during World War 2, taking to the skies to battle overwhelming odds of the Axis forces, after which Churchill would say; "Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few".

    September 15th is remembered as "Battle of Britain" day even though the conflict lasted for the entire summer.

    This artwork by Robert Taylor depicts James Nicolson winning his Victoria Cross on 16 August 1940 during the height of the Battle of Britain.

    Nicholson was the only WWII pilot of the Battle of Britain, and in fact the entire RAF Fighter Command, to receive the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy.

    Nicolson was 23 years old and a flight lieutenant in No. 249 Squadron during the Second World War when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

    On 16 August 1940 having taken off from RAF Boscombe Down near Salisbury, Nicolson's Hawker Hurricane was fired on by the Messerschmitt Bf 109 of Heinz Bretnutz of II./JG 53, who returned to base with claims for two Hurricanes following this action.

    Nicolson's engine was damaged and the petrol tank set alight. As he struggled to leave the blazing machine he saw another Messerschmitt, and managing to get back into the bucket seat, pressed the firing button and continued firing until the enemy plane dived away to destruction. The result of staying in his burning aircraft meant he sustained serious burns to his hands, face, neck and legs and only when he finished off the enemy fighter did he bail out, leaving barely enough time to open his parachute and land safely in a field, however during his descent, he was shot at by members of the Home Guard, who ignored his cry of being a RAF Pilot.

    The announcement and accompanying citation for the Victoria Cross decoration was published in supplement to the London Gazette on 15 November 1940, reading:

    Air Ministry, 15 November 1940.

    The KING has been graciously pleased to confer the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned officer in recognition of most conspicuous bravery : –

    Flight Lieutenant James Brindley NICOLSON (39329) – No. 249 Squadron.

    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.

    -------------------------------------

    Fully recovered by September 1941, Nicolson was posted to India in 1942. Between August 1943 and August 1944 he was a squadron leader and commanding officer of No. 27 Squadron, flying Bristol Beaufighters over Burma. During this time he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

    Wing Commander James Nicolson sadly did not survive the war. On the 2nd of May 1945 while aboard an RAF B-24 Liberator from No. 355 Squadron, in which he was flying as an observer, it caught fire and crashed into the Bay of Bengal. His body was not recovered.

    He is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.

    His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, England.

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    Re: Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

    Well said, Mystic! I'm very glad you wrote your piece above. I know you are 'preaching to the converted' but......we must not forget!

    James Nicholson is remembered in the graveyard of Scampton Church, close to the famous airfield......a very poignant place to visit. Taylor's painting (at least a print of it) hung in my dear old Dad's house for many years. My brother has it now. Being an RAF family, (Dad was Wing Cmdr E.T.Weeks, ATC) we lived on RAF Stations for much of our lives. Dad organised 'Battle of Britain Open Days' at RAF Swinderby, Waddington, Wildenrath and Coltishall. I loved them and would spend all day on the airfield.

    You didn't have to tell me what the Battle of Britain was all about. After I became a teacher, many a lesson was interrupted...... even abandoned...... on September 15th and I would tell the children the stirring stories of Bader, Tuck, Wellum and Nicholson and others, often using Taylor's painting's (illicitly stolen from Dad's walls the night before...ha ha!) as illustration.
    Sod the curriculum! The children HAD to KNOW about these men and what they did for us! Needless to say, the children lapped it up. After all, they are amazing stories....and don't worry....I always took the paintings back! Salute!

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    Re: Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

    "The needs of the Flight Sim Community outweigh the needs of the one or the few"

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    Re: Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

    Quote Originally Posted by ATAG_Marlow View Post
    Well said, Mystic! I'm very glad you wrote your piece above. I know you are 'preaching to the converted' but......we must not forget!

    James Nicholson is remembered in the graveyard of Scampton Church, close to the famous airfield......a very poignant place to visit. Taylor's painting (at least a print of it) hung in my dear old Dad's house for many years. My brother has it now. Being an RAF family, (Dad was Wing Cmdr E.T.Weeks, ATC) we lived on RAF Stations for much of our lives. Dad organised 'Battle of Britain Open Days' at RAF Swinderby, Waddington, Wildenrath and Coltishall. I loved them and would spend all day on the airfield.

    You didn't have to tell me what the Battle of Britain was all about. After I became a teacher, many a lesson was interrupted...... even abandoned...... on September 15th and I would tell the children the stirring stories of Bader, Tuck, Wellum and Nicholson and others, often using Taylor's painting's (illicitly stolen from Dad's walls the night before...ha ha!) as illustration.
    Sod the curriculum! The children HAD to KNOW about these men and what they did for us! Needless to say, the children lapped it up. After all, they are amazing stories....and don't worry....I always took the paintings back! Salute!
    That's great to read. Sadly, too many children these days will never understand the sacrifice paid by these young men, many not much older than themselves. I would guess you were a rare breed in your school?
    I remember about 25 years ago I was sent to photograph a Paratrooper who took part in the D-Day landings. Even to this day I cringe when I remember she asked "So who were you fighting against?". He looked at me with a "is that a serious question" and I lowered my eyes and shook my head. The sad thing is, we learn from our past, our history and seeing multitudes of kids these days more concerned about doing a dance on tiktok than learning about how they are even allowed the freedom to do this, because of the sacrifices their Great Grandfathers made.....it's just embarrassing.

    BTW, you remind me of a Deputy Headmaster we used to have who taught Geography when they needed a fill in. He also volunteered on the Severn Valley Steam Railway. So as soon as he sat down we asked him about his work. He looked at us with a "I know what you're doing"....and then spent the entire lesson talking about his work. Some of us were genuinely fascinated, others just saw it as a break from teaching.....but ultimately we were learning about life before everyone had a car and could fly anywhere.

    I, too, have lots of Robert Taylor art, as well as Matt Hall, John Shaw, Mark Postlethwaite, Anthony Saunders, Philip West, etc, etc
    "The needs of the Flight Sim Community outweigh the needs of the one or the few"

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    Re: Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

    Yeah the guy was a genuine beast.

    Check this for more details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdIk93gwxuE

    Check this for more beasts: https://www.youtube.com/@TheNorthernHistorian/videos

    I completely forgot it was the 15th 'till I saw your post!!!

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    Re: Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

    Ha ha! Yes, kids will always try it on.

    I had my fair share who didn't fancy Maths that day and would try and 'divert' the direction of the lesson. I would only change course if there was something important to learn and, at least when I did,...the kids would listen. Fortunately, you could always capture their interest with a good story.

    I don't have many aviation prints but, in this room where my computer is, I do have a copy of Antony Saunders 'Pathway to the Ruhr' from his Dambusters series. It's signed by the artist, Johnny Johnson, Les Munro and M.Stevens.

    A few miles down the road in the direction of RAF Halton is 'Aces High' gallery where you can see hundreds of great paintings by Taylor, his son and the other fine artists you mention. I wish I could afford to buy more of their work. Salute!


    https://www.aces-high.com/media/browse/lithograph

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    Re: Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

    Now you make me feel bad flying my Ju88
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    Re: Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

    Aces High gallery is awesome. An incredible collection.

    Re prints, I have Robert Taylor's 'Spitfire' signed by Douglas Bader and Johnnie Johnson, along with Graeme Lothian's The Right of the Line, bought during Marlow and my visit to Duxford in 2018 on the wall behind my computer.

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    Re: Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

    Interesting documentary (Wingleader Films) about a dogfight between a Spitfire and a Bf 109 over Folkston harbour. With a CLOD sequence for the simulated air combat.



    https://youtu.be/tyqCFBP1u_Q

    LARRY69
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    Re: Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

    Fantastic picture posted on the Duxford Facebook page before their event this weekend.

    Hurricane Duxford September 15th.jpg
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    Re: Remembering the Battle of Britain, commemorated on Sept 15th

    Quote Originally Posted by LARRY69 View Post
    Interesting documentary (Wingleader Films) about a dogfight between a Spitfire and a Bf 109 over Folkston harbour. With a CLOD sequence for the simulated air combat.



    https://youtu.be/tyqCFBP1u_Q

    LARRY69
    What an amazing account! Thanks for sharing this.



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