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October, 2011 Monthly archive

Cunningham, Blake and Brinsden at Fowlmere, September 1940. By permission of the Imperial War Museum. IWM CH 001459

Many of you will have seen the sad news that Wallace “Jock” Cunningham passed away recently. Cunningham (on the left in the above photograph) flew with No. 19 Squadron during the Battle of Britain, and as such features very heavily in our work on Duxford’s history.

Back in 1999 we interviewed “Jock” to find out more about his experiences. Particularly memorable was his description of the relentless nature of the combat operations at the height of the Battle:

You could be up in the air and climbing at a thousand feet above the aerodrome and wondering how the hell you got there, because you’d been asleep, you were up and you did all the right things, and you were up in the air… Complete blank as to how you got there.

He is also frequently mentioned in No. 19 Squadron’s Operations Record Book, including this entry for 15 September – what we now know as Battle of Britain Day:

Another party along with Wing, led by S/ldr. Lane and F/Lt. Clouston . When we arrived the formation had already been broken up by 11 Group. S/Ldr. Lane a probable Me.109, P/O. Cunningham an Me.109, F/Sgt. Unwin two Me.109’s. Sub/Lt. Blake an Me.109 and shared a He.111, F/Lt. Clouston a Do. 17, F/O. Haines an Me.110 and Me.109, P/O. Vokes a probable Me.110. F/Sgt. Steere a Do.17. Sub/Lt. Blake and Sgt. Roden shot down but force landed safely. Sgt. Potter missing.

An obituary of Cunningham can be found here.

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