Spitfire top fighter plane ever produced.

A Royal Visit to the HQ of RAF Fighter Command at Royal Air Force station Bentley Priory. The operations rooms were in specially made underground bunkers. The home which is located in the London Borough of Harrow was purchased by the RAF in 1926. 

George VI FC with Dowding

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, escorted by Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, Air Officer Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command, visit the Headquarters of Fighter Command at Bentley Priory, near Stanmore, Middlesex


RAF Station Bentley Priory was finally closed in 2008. Subsequently developed into luxury condominiums. The British Government continues to sell off its historic heritage to private interests which immediately close them to the public. For large sums of money, you can now rent historic rooms in the Palace of Westminster which is the seat of the House of Commons for private parties. This includes the members dining room and bar where Winston Churchill was often found. It really is enough to make a person ill.


Ground crew refueling Supermarine Spitfire Mark IIA, P7420, of No. 19 Squadron RAF from a tractor-drawn petrol bowser at Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire. This newly-arrived example was one of the few Spitfire Mark IIs to fly operationally with a front-line squadron before the end of the Battle of Britain.


A formation of Supermarine Spitfire Mark IIAs of No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron RAF dips their wings as they pass the saluting base during a visit by the Polish President, Władysław Raczkiewicz, to Northolt, Middlesex.


Many Polish Air Force pilots made their way to Great Britain after the German’s overran Poland. In spite of their antiquated aircraft, the Polish Air Force had put up a credible defense. AOC-in-C Dowding of Fighter Command was wary of these pilots at first. Few spoke English and he thought they might be too undisciplined. As it turned out, they learned English quickly and since they had been professional airmen and flying for a number of years they were some of the most experienced fighter pilots the RAF had.

Better, given what the Nazis were doing to their homeland, the Poles had a visceral hatred of the Germans. If they ran out of ammunition and were over England, Polish pilots often rammed German planes then baled out.


Spitfire F Mark XIV, RB159 ‘DW-D’, being flown by the commanding officer of No. 610 Squadron RAF, Squadron Leader R A Newbury, when based at Friston, Sussex.

photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum



Flight Lieutenant Laurie of No. 222 Squadron, Royal Air Force warming up Supermarine Spitfire Mark V, BM202 ‘ZD-H’ “Flying Scotsman”, at North Weald, Essex. This aircraft was the second bearing this name to be paid for from donations made by LNER personnel, arranged through the company’s wartime headquarters at Hitchin.

(photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)



The Spitfire XII had been in service for over a year when this shot was taken on 12 April 1944 of two Friston-based aircraft from No 41 Squadron. Essentially a Mk V airframe mated to Rolls-Royce’s powerful 1,735hp Griffon engine (which gave it a top speed of about 390mph at 18,00ft), the Mk XII was a low-level interceptor, equipping two home-defence squadrons. By 1944, however, enemy fighter-bomber incursions were rare and the Mk XIIs were being employed on offensive sweeps over northern France.

(photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

Nazi Saboteurs Landed In America by German U-boats

German uboats touched american soil three times during world war two


In reality, the leader of the group, George Dasch, turned all of them into the FBI. laimed all the credit but only when Dasch called the FBI did they have any idea German saboteurs were in the country.

In spite of many tall tales, German U-boats only touched American soil three times and they didn’t stay very long. Approaching an enemy coast to land agents was extremely dangerous since the boat had to go into shallow water and close an enemy coast with no intelligence.

Since the only real protection a U-Boat had was going deep underwater, being in shallow water made this impossible. Officers and crewmen intensely disliked missions such as this because it put them in such danger.

Over the years, dozens of people have told me how they had heard about German U-Boat coming ashore in the US to shop, go to the movies, have a beer, you name it. Absolutely none of these stories are true. A work colleague many years ago told me UBoat men used to come ashore for an evening of dinner, drinks, and dancing in Palm Beach. His grandfather met many of them. This is impossible but stories like this abound.

I have asked the two top U-Boat historians in the world Jak P Mallman-Showell and Dr. Timothy Mulligan if any of these stories are true and they both said, “no.” And gave me permission to quote them.


NEW YORK TIMES 10 December 1945

Aircraft and many other key armaments, relied on aluminum. As rugged as they seem, you could punch a sharpened pencil through the side of a B-17. Aluminum production in the US skyrocketed during the war.  Because it is difficult to make and requires huge amounts of electricity, there are many points in the production cycle which a saboteur could disrupt.

Nazi Germany Unleashes Bombers on London

Germans Bomb London

Bomb damage to HMV (His Master’s Voice) gramophone shop, Oxford Street, London, 1940. The shop had been opened by Sir Edward Elgar in 1921Photograph: Cecil Beaton/Imperial War Museum


The Blitz, London, 1942. A workman with a wheelbarrow clears up fallen debris from the roof of St Mary-le-Bow after its first bombing. Subsequently the church was completely destroyed. The church was rebuilt after the war. It was said that a genuine Cockney was a person born within the sounds of the bells of St. Mary-le-Bow.  Photograph: Cecil Beaton/Imperial War Museum


Bomb damage to the church of St Lawrence Jewry, Guildhall, London, 1940. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the church suffered major damage during the Blitz and was rebuilt to Wren’s original design in 1957.  Photograph: Cecil Beaton/Imperial War Museum


London Blitz:  Young woman pulled alive from rubble of bombed building by London Air Raid Precaution emergency workers

Payback is a Bitch
Stuttgart after a visit from RAF Bomber Command in 1943

ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMBER COMMAND, 1942-1945. (CL 3437) Low-level aerial photograph of the devastated city centre of Stuttgart from the south-west, after 53 major raids, most of them by Bomber Command, destroyed nearly 68 percent of its built-up area and killed 4,562 people. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205022152



English Nursing Sisters Critical to Victory in World War Two

 Establishing a field hospital in normandy days after Dday
THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY, JUNE 1944 (B 5859) A cheery party of Sisters of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service with their baggage at No 88 General Hospital at La Delivrande, Normandy. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205129366
THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944 (B 9222) A nurse attends to wounded soldiers in a field hospital, 15 August 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205202480


ROYAL AIR FORCE: 2ND TACTICAL AIR FORCE, 1943-1945. (CL 310) The interior of one of the tented wards at No. 50 Mobile Field Hospital in Normandy. Sister M Griffiths helps one of the patients into his dressing-gown (right). Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211654
THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944 (B 5803) Royal Army Medical Corps nurses and women of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) carry a wounded soldier out of the operating tent at the 79th General Hospital at Bayeux, 20 June 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205202025


THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944 (B 5847) Women of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMS) queue for their lunch at No 88 General Hospital at Douvres-la-Delivrande, 22 June 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205924


THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944 (B 5841) Women of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMS) pose for a group photograph at No 88 General Hospital at Douvres-la-Delivrande, 22 June 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205923


nursing british wounded in france during german invasion of june 1940 before dunkirk


WOMEN AT WAR 1939 – 1945 (TR 2163) Nursing: Half length portrait of a nursing sister of Queen Alexandra?s Imperial Military Nursing Service outside a field hospital in France. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125325
nursing british and commonwealth troops in egypt
ROYAL AIR FORCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, 1944-1945. (CM 6260) Airmen and n.c.o. patients resting on the balcony at No. 5 RAF General Hospital, Abassia, Egypt, attended by PMRAFNS Sisters Lindsay of Montrose (left), and D’Hondt of Hindhead, Surrey (right). Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205209137
ROYAL AIR FORCE MEDICAL SERVICES, 1939-1945. (CM 2410) Recently-arrived nursing sisters of the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service gathered on the balcony of No. 5 RAF General Hospital, newly established at Abassia, Egypt. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205126790
Reykjavik Wasn’t the warmest POSting
PRINCESS MARY’S ROYAL AIR FORCE NURSING SERVICE, 1939-1945. (CS 330) Nurses relaxing in the Sister’s Mess of the RAF Hospital at Reykjavik, Iceland. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205207860
lots of snow in Reykjavik
ROYAL AIR FORCE COASTAL COMMAND, 1939-1945. (CS 354) Snowed-up technical huts and airfield at Reykjavik, Iceland, during a lull in the blizzard which hit the island between 21 and 27 February 1945. Consolidated Liberator GR Mark VIs of No.53 Squadron RAF are parked on the airfield. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205207862

World War Two Key Maritime Choke Points Controlled by Royal Navy

British Empire Controlled Key Maritime Choke Points in World War Two
THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 21902) A depth charge explodes after it had been dropped from HMS CEYLON. The ship had just made a call at Colombo the capital of Ceylon. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186946


Now Sri Lanka, in World War Two this was the British colony of Ceylon which controlled key maritime shipping lanes.

One of the reasons the British Empire had such a hold on the oceans of the world was their control of key choke points for maritime traffic. These included the southern tip of India, that entire country then ruled by the British. Close by, controlling a key passage into the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal was modern day Sri Lanka, then the British colony of Ceylon.

The Royal Navy had numerous ships stationed in several bases on Ceylon although at one point after a series of Japanese attacks the British Eastern Fleet withdrew to Mombassa. The island itself hosted large numbers of British military facilities.

THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 20199) Marines at drill with three 40 mm Bofors guns at the Royal Marine Group Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisation Instructional Wing, Chatham Camp, Colombo, Ceylon. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186779


SERVING IN THE EAST. MARCH 1945, ON BOARD THE ESCORT CARRIER HMS EMPRESS AND AT A ROYAL NAVAL AIR STATION IN COLOMBO, CEYLON. FLEET AIR ARM PERSONNEL SERVING IN THE EAST. (A 28068) Hellcats of the Royal Navy, fitted with long-range tanks, just about to be catapulted off HMS EMPRESS. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205159472


TALLY HO LIMPS HOME. 9 MARCH 1944, COLOMBO, CEYLON. THE RETURN TO PORT OF THE SUBMARINE TALLY HO AFTER A SUCCESSFUL PATROL DURING WHICH SHE SUSTAINED DAMAGE WHEN A JAPANESE TORPEDO BOAT CRASHED INTO HER. (A 22887) General view of the damaged submarine showing how the Japanese torpedo-boats’s propellor sliced it like ‘crackling on pork’. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205155033


WOMENS ROYAL NAVAL SERVICE IN CEYLON, 1943 (A 21442) Wren M Cooper, of London, at work plotting out the course of a ship on a chart in a Ceylon plotting room. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186904


THE WOMEN’S ROYAL NAVAL SERVICE DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 21441) Wren Plotters G Finlay, of Kenya (left) and A Colborne, of Liverpool moving ships on the plot in a Naval Operations Room in Ceylon. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186903


THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 21428) The Women’s Royal Naval Service: Wrens coming off watch spend a restful hour in their cajan roofed cabins at the WRNS Quarters in Ceylon. Note the mosquito nets tied up and hanging above each bed. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186901


THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 24959) The Women’s Royal Naval Service: Admiral Sir James Somerville Commander -in-Chief Eastern Fleet inspecting Wrens serving with the Eastern Fleet in Colombo, Ceylon. To celebrate his sixty second birthday he held an inspection of Wrens, with nearly 250 of them were on parade. After the inspection they marched past the saluting base to music from a Royal Marine band. As the Admiral was leaving the Wr… Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205187245

“Slim Jim” Somerville was one of the Royal Navy’s most successful fighting admirals in WOrld War Two. Prior to being sent out to command the Eastern Fleet, at that time a collection of old World War One battleships, Somerville had command the famous “Force H” from Gibraltar.

Curiously, Somevile had been placed on the retired list before the war because of a misdiagnosed medical condition of tuberculosis which he did not have. When recalled to the colours, he remained on the retired list thus receiving both his pension and his active duty pay.


COLOMBO’S JUNIOR FLEET CLUB. JANUARY 1944, THE JUNIOR FLEET CLUB, COLOMBO, CEYLON HAS BEEN RUN FOR MORE THAN 2 YEARS FOR THE MEN OF THE ROYAL NAVY UNDER 20, BY MRS G W HUNTER BLAIR, WIDOW OF A CEYLON PLANTER, WHO IS AFFECTIONATELY KNOWN AS GRANNY TO THE CLUB MEMBERS. (A 22274) Rev C L Martineau, RNVR, holds his weekly discussion group at the Junior Fleet Club, of which he is warden. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205154488

Junior ratings wore long black socks with tropical rig. Higher rates, petty officers, and officers wore white socks. The chaplain, although classified as an officer for purposes of pay and food and uniform and quarters, actually did not have a rank. The Royal Navy believed the men would more readily consult the chaplain about their personal issues, one of his main functions, if he wasn’t officially an officer.

NOEL COWARD ENTERTAINS THE MEN OF THE EASTERN FLEET, HMS VICTORIOUS, TRINCOMALEE, CEYLON, 1 AUGUST 1944 (A 25390) Noel Coward standing at the microphone on a flag-bedecked stage on the aircraft lift aboard HMS VICTORIOUS with Norman Hackworth at the piano. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205187321

BEF in France Prepares to Fight Huns

British Expeditionary Force sent to France beginning of World War Two


THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939 (O 3) Men of the 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers disembarking at Cherbourg from the steamer ‘Royal Sovereign’, 16 September 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205204991

Comments Charles McCain:  similar to to the BEF in World War One, the British Army sent to France was poorly equipped for modern warfare. Many reserve units of the Territorials were untrained. The Army had spent little time in combined arms training. It had the makings of a disaster and it was.


THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939-40 (O 576) Matilda Mk I tanks of 4th Royal Tank Regiment being transported by train from Cherbourg to Amiens, 28 September 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205033

Comments Charles McCain: built by Vickers Armstrong and armed only with a machine gun, these tanks were designed only to support infantry and could hardly go head to head with an a tank as we think of them. Poorly designed, underpowered, lightly armoured, this was not a tank you wanted to be in. With a gasoline powered engine they easily “brewed up” when hit.

The driver of a Matilda I of 4th Royal Tank Regiment in France during the winter of 1939–40. This shows the cramped driver’s compartment and how the hatch obstructs the gun turret. Photo courtesy Imperial War Museum.

THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939 (O 165) Crews of 13/18th Royal Hussars work on their Mk VI light tanks in a farmyard near Arras, October 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205007
THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939 (O 152) Men of 1st Border Regiment man a Bren gun set up in the back of a 15cwt truck at Orchies, 13 October 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205004


Morris-Commercial 15cwt truck on a railway flat car at Arras, 3 January 1940 .  when evacuated from Dunkirk British forced to leave thousands of trucks

THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939 (O 129) A motorcycle despatch rider delivers a message to the signals office of 1st Border Regiment at Orchies, 13 October 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205002

When the British transported the British Expeditionary Force to France they also transported a massive number of vehicles of every sort from tanks to staff cars to trucks to Bren carriers to motorcycles. The official history states that more than 60,000 vehicles were destroyed in combat or left behind on the beaches. The Germans were especially keen on the Bedford trucks.

*BEF vehicle losses in France 1940 from History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series, The War in France and Flanders 1939-1940.


THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939-40 (O 617) A Morris CS9 armoured car of ‘C’ Squadron, 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’ Own) receives attention parked in a farmyard at Villiers St Simon, 29 September 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205037


Troops of the 1st Royal Berkshire Regiment, 2nd Division, checking the papers of civilians at Becun on the Franco-Belgian border, 10 October 1939. Imperial War Museum.  

Unfortunately, many Belgians were of German ancestry or allegiance. As they went back and forth across the border of Belgium and France they kept a keen watch on the various activities of the British and French armies. Once back home, they blabbed everything to the Germans.

During the retreat of the British Army to Dunkirk, the King of Belgium decided to surrender, which opened a gap in the lines forming the corridor British troops were using to retreat. He didn’t give the British a lot of notice. They felt a great bitterness toward the Belgians.

The late Lord Carrington, who served in the Guards Armoured Brigade in World War Two, said in his memoirs that as they went through Belgium in 1944 it was obvious “the Belgians had eaten their way through World War Two.”

THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939-40 (O 2288) The Grenadier Guards building breastworks on flooded ground at Hem, December 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205065

Perhaps not the best use of the most elite regiment in the British Army. Typically this work was done pioneer battalions or Royal Engineers.


Coastal Command Attacking U-Boats

RAF Coastal Command Attacking German UBoats
Half of German U-Boats destroyed in World War Two were sunk by Allied aircraft.
ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: COASTAL COMMAND (HU 91244) Photograph taken by the rear-facing camera of a No 77 Squadron Whitley during its attack on U-705 in the Bay of Biscay, 3 September 1942. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205217912


Bay of Biscay relatively shallow and U-boats based in French Channel ports had to transit Bay of Biscay to reach Atlantic. Beginning in 1943, RAF Coastal Command began a major campaign to attack U-Boats on surface in Bay of Biscay. A tough fight because planes had to come in low to drop their depth charges and by that time U-Boats had far better anti-aircraft armament.

ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: COASTAL COMMAND (HU 91259) Photograph taken by the rear-facing camera of a No 77 Squadron Whitley during its attack on U-705 in the Bay of Biscay, 3 September 1942. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205217913


Most of the anti-submarine aircraft under command or seconded to
15 Group RAF Coastal Command HQ co-located with HQ C-in-C Western Approaches Command in secret bunker in Liverpool. Coastal Command under tactical command of Royal Navy in WW Two.

ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: COASTAL COMMAND (HU 91260) Photograph taken by the rear-facing camera of a No 77 Squadron Whitley during its attack on U-705 in the Bay of Biscay, 3 September 1942. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205217914


It took several years and much analysis of attack reports to formulate both a correct attack doctrine and design and manufacture special depth charge bombs for Coastal Command aircraft. But it was done.

ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: COASTAL COMMAND (HU 91261) Photograph taken by the rear-facing camera of a No 77 Squadron Whitley during its attack on U-705 in the Bay of Biscay, 3 September 1942. Here the U-boat is sinking, leaving a patch of oil and air bubbles. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205217915


U-705 meets its end during Coastal Command offensive in Bay of Biscay. In spite of after war memoirs and recollections, morale of UBoat crews very low by this point according to interrogation reports of Uboat crew rescued by Royal Navy and US Navy. The men knew their chances of survival by this point in the war very low.

Further, the statement by UBoat men and many historians that UBoat crews were all volunteers has been completely disproven by memoirs from several UBoat men as well as interrogation reports.

Below, U751 sinking after coordinated Coastal Command attack by several aircraft.

ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: COASTAL COMMAND (HU 91243) Photograph looking back over the starboard wing of a Lancaster of No 61 Squadron, Bomber Command, after an attack on U-751 in the Bay of Biscay, 17 July 1942. The U-boat had been attacked and crippled by a Whitley of No 502 Squadron earlier, before being finally sunk by depth charges dropped by the Lancaster. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205217911