Photo Gallery

Les in Canada 

He’s pictured with a Harvard fighter trainer.   Compared to the Tiger Moth aircraft he trained on at Narromine, N.S.W., flying the Harvard was like a trip in a time machine.

Tiger Moth flying was normally done in the mornings when the temperature was at its lowest and thermal activity was least.  The afternoons were too hot to be out in heavy flying suits and the turbulence was too severe for the lightweight Tiger Moths.

The Harvard was big, heavy and powerful.   Three times as fast as the Tiger Moth, it featured retracting undercarriage, alternating pitch propeller and radio.

The Harvard was armed and could carry bombs.   They were a huge step forward for the trainees.

Formation Flying

A brace of Harvards practicing formation flying near Dunnville, Ontario, Canada.

Les was at Dunnville for advanced flight training.   He was exposed to flight training under various atmospheric conditions, including sub zero winter conditions with ice and snow.

Trainees were engaged in battle tactics, navigational exercises, live shooting, aerobatics, night flying, dive bombing, strafing, attacks and more.

Upon completion of the training course, the trainees moved onto more advanced aircraft such as the Hurricane fighter.

His Training Group

Les’s training group in Canada.    Les can be seen middle row, third from the right side.

Images from Der Adler

These three images were taken from Der Adler, the Wehrmacht’s wartime magazine for German troops.

Some Der Adler magazines were made available to Peter by the late Peter Henderson who served with Bomber Command and was a tail gunner aboard Wellington bombers.  Credited with 3 aircraft kills during night operations, Peter Henderson survived a Tour of Duty before returning to Australia where he served aboard Liberators in the Pacific.

The photos depict flak guns and their crews.   The German flak guns proved a deadly scourge to allied aircraft.

Another Operation Over

Back from a mission.   Les in the centre.   They are walking on marston matting, a temporary covering placed on the soft, wet ground to enable aircraft movements where ground conditions are poor.

Marston matting could be disassembled, packed up and used again.

Ready to Go

A Supermarine Mk XVI clipped-wing Spitfire fully armed.

The clipped-wing gave the Spitfire Mk XVI a better roll rate for its use as a low level dive bomber and strafing attack fighter.

Essentially, the Mk XVI was a Mk IX with a different wing.

It was also a model powered by the Packard-Merlin engine, a Rolls-Royce Merlin made in the United States on a mass-production basis by the Packard Motor Company and known as the M266.

As a fighter-bomber, the Mk XVI would carry a single 500lb centre-line bomb and two underwing 250lb bombs.   Additionally, there were two 20mm cannons and a pair of 50 calibre machine guns.

Life on the Ramp

Mk XVI Spitfire being re-fuelled and re-armed for operations.   Note the cut-down fuselage and the large blister canopy.   Compare it to the image above with the built-up rear fuselage and smaller bubble canopy.

Overcoming Boredom

Les’s voyage to New York aboard the Monterey.

Each day aboard the Monterey, the passengers would receive a printed news sheet, a device used to pass the time, reduce the sense of boredom and to keep the men informed and amused.

This was the news sheet on the day the Monterey crossed the equator.

Les kept his copy.

The Superb Signature Image

My superb signature image of a Mk XVI Spitfire.   Illustration by Gaetan Marie, Bravo Bravo Aviation.

Of the 21,351 Spitfires produced, 1,054 were Mk XVIs.