Battle of Britain victoria cross

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by jamierd, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. jamierd

    jamierd Member

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    Air Ministry.
    15 November, 1940.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE.
    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.

    does anyone have any information about or pictures of the Hurricane flown by Flight Lieutenant Nicholson when hwe was given this award
     
  2. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Jamierd

    Nicholson was flying Hurricane P3576 (coded GN-A) in the action for which he was awarded the VC. Sadly, there are no known photos of this aircraft, indeed there are few photos of 249 Sqn Hurricanes from the period. Robert Taylor did a painting of the action which is one interpretation of the markings applied to Nicholson's Hurricane.

    I know this doesn't help...

    Cheers,
    Mark H
     
  3. jamierd

    jamierd Member

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    thanks mark its somewhere to start at least and given the rules applied by the RAF regarding aircraft markings it shouldnt be too hard to at least get an aproximation of what the aircraft looked like
     
  4. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Note that 249 Sqn Hurricanes seem to have carried code letters that were larger than the standard size. There's a poor quality photo in Brian Cull's history of 249 Sqn (published by Grub Street) if you can locate a copy.
     
  5. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Yes, the code letters in this squadron were oversized, and often overlapped the fuselage roundel. I think I might have a well-known pic of a pair of the squadron's aircraft taking off. If/when I find it, I'll post it. I believe that the current issue of the Airfix 1/48th scale Hurricane kit might include decals for Nicholson's aircraft, but this would need to be verified.
     
  6. jamierd

    jamierd Member

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    after long search found 2 artists works of aircraft from 249 Sqn RAF equally long search for decals has produced nothing the letters are definately outsize on both paintings.i dont have a printer so cant print my own so may have to shelve this idea untill i can find some
     
  7. NZTyphoon

    NZTyphoon Member

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    Depending on the size and style of the codes it should be possible to mask and handpaint - I have done this on a 3 Sqn Hurricane P2921 GZ-L as flown by Pete Brothers during July/August 1940; the trickiest part is the rounded corners of the G.
     
  8. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    So his plane was on fire, was about to jump out, saw an enemy fighter and shot him down> Holy Crap! That's fricken amazing!
     
  9. jamierd

    jamierd Member

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    one of the paintings actually shows him half out of the cockpit the plane is already burning its an awsome painting which i would love to share but dont think i would be allowed due to copyrite s and such i will try get a link to a decent sized shot of it for all to see
     
  10. muller

    muller Active Member

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    Found this on google.

    [​IMG]

    (courtesy of flyingmule.com)
     
  11. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Nicholson was already being burned, and had unfastened his seat harness and was partially out of the cockpit, when a Bf110 'drifted' in front of his burning Hurricane. He dropped back into the cockpit, gave it a burst which, IIRC, set one engine on fire. He then bailed out. Photos of him taken at his Investiture in November 1940 clearly show burn scars around his eyes.
    Perhaps surprisingly, Nicholson was the only pilot of RAF Fighter Command to win the VC during WW2.
    Jamie, as per our PM's, I should have the code decals sorted within the next week or so, along with Jan's stuff.
     
  12. jamierd

    jamierd Member

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    no rush terry will be taking my time with this one been looking for wheels today none around at all for 1/32 hurricanes
     
  13. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    The key problem was evidence. In order to be awarded the VC, the act of heroism above and beyond the call of duty had to be witnessed by someone else, usually an officer. Single-seat fighter combat, by its very nature, doesn't provide much scope for witnessing actions by individuals.

    KR
    Mark
     
  14. jamierd

    jamierd Member

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    although there has been at least 1 case where the testimony of the enemy involved was enough to get the award made i will have to find that one again only read it the other day lol
     
  15. antoni

    antoni Banned

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    It took a while to root out. Hope it helps.
     

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  16. Rocketeer

    Rocketeer Member

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    LF363 of the BBMF was coded GN-A in the 1990 display season in recognition of Nicolson VC's aircraft (note correct spelling of his name) I have a few fragments of his aircraft somewhere! I arranged for a memorial at Boscombe Down (where he was based at the time) to be unveiled in 1990 and LF flew over exactly 50years to the hour!!
     
  17. jamierd

    jamierd Member

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    i was in Winterbourne gunner for four years during the 90s right next door to boscombe down.
    ITs good that people go out of their way to remember these guys and i hope it will continue for many years to come . many thanks to all you guys who are helping me with this i think it would have taken me years to do it on my own
     
  18. John Vasco

    John Vasco Member

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    #18 John Vasco, Nov 1, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2009
    The slight problem being that every Bf 110 brought down on that day has been accounted for, and nothing came down anywhere near the location, nor at the time, the combat was stated to take place. Nicolson's combat report was completed by the IO the next day at his bedside, when Nicolson was heavily sedated due to his wounds, and it is likely the IO attributed a victory when none actually took place (a not uncommon occurrence during the Battle of Britain).

    Apologies if this bursts anyone's 'bubble' about this particular incident, but years and years of meticulous research into the Bf 110 leads to the conclusion given above.
     
  19. jamierd

    jamierd Member

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    not at all john my interest was in the VC given not what he shot down or didnt as the case may be .and any information about the incident is very well recieved .
     
  20. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    John,

    Your comments certainly don't burst my bubble. Nicolson was awarded the VC for gallantry in climbing back into the cockpit to re-engage the enemy and not for actually shooting down a single Me110. IIRC, Nicolson was somewhat of a reluctant hero - he didn't believe he should have been singled out for the VC when others were fighting just as hard and many didn't survive to tell the tale.

    Kind regards,
    Mark H (LKBS)
     
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