Some sad news.
We learned yesterday that Richard Jones, who flew with the Duxford Wing in 1940, has died.
Flying first with No. 64 Squadron at Kenley, then with No. 19 Squadron at Fowlmere, he had some incredible experiences. We interviewed Richard in 2003, and his memories of the Battle provided us with a very important insight into the life of a Second World War fighter pilot. It was particularly moving when he recalled how he and his squadron colleagues dealt with losing a friend:
‘You had to develop a mentality where you had to accept it. After a severe casualty or anything else you wouldn’t show terrific remorse, you would go and have a drink in the Mess, on him, to send him on his way.’
He will be greatly missed.
You can read an obituary of Flight Lieutenant Jones here.
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.