#1329 Hurricane I
Purchased products will not feature the Squadron Prints watermark
Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1329 - P3616 'GN-F', Hurricane I, 249 Squadron, RAF Boscombe Down. The Hawker Hurricane was the primary air defence fighter of the Battle of Britain and was flown by Pilot Officer Tom â€˜Gingerâ€™ Neil of No 249 Squadron based at RAF Boscombe Down, part of No 10 Group. Hurricane Mk I, P3616 was his preferred mount but on 16 August 1940, when he was on a well-earned 24 hours leave, it was allocated to Pilot Officer Martyn King. That day, Flight Lieutenant James (Nick) Nicolson was leading Red Section, which consisted of P/O King in â€˜F for Freddieâ€™ and the supernumerary Squadron Leader Eric King (no relation). The Section was ordered to a patrol-line Salisbury to Ringwood but it was not long before it was vectored to a raid attacking Lee-on-Solent. During the engagement with Messerschmitt Bf 110 escorts, P/O King was shot down and died when his parachute collapsed and Sqn Ldr King was so badly shot up that he barely limped back to Boscombe Down. The leader, Flt Lt Nicolson was severely wounded in the side and leg, and was about to abandon his burning Hurricane when the attacking Messerschmitt overshot, at which point Nicolson gallantly returned to his controls and shot down his attacker. Badly burnt, he finally took to his parachute but shot on the way down by a watching British Army NCO. For this action, Nicolson was awarded the Victoria Cross the following November. Pilot Officer Neil returned from leave to find his beloved P3616 had been destroyed but when No 249 moved to RAF North Weald on 1 September, he arranged for its replacement, V7313 to be marked â€˜F for Freddieâ€™. During the continuing Battle, Neil flew 62 times in V7313 before it too was lost on 10 October, and a total of 141 times against the Luftwaffe, by which time he had been credited with 13 confirmed victories. A replica of Hurricane V7313 now stands as â€˜Gate Guardianâ€™ at North Weald airfield. Words Â© Paul Beaver.