Friday, 18 September 2015

75 years ago...............Spitfire Mk.Ia K9998.

 SEPTEMBER 1940-SEPTEMBER 2015.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and this is my tribute to  "The Few". We all owe them a debt that we cannot repay. I am so proud of the Royal Air Force and the brave men and women who defended our shores during the Battle of Britain.  As Churchill said: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."




This Spitfire was flown by Geoffrey Wellum DFC, he was the youngest fighter pilot in the RAF during the Battle of Britain and his memoir "First Light" has become one of the finest accounts of the battle ever written.

Having read "First Light" several times I am full of pride and respect for the brave men of the RAF who defended Britain in her darkest hour.

Geoffrey Wellum served throughout the campaign with 92 Sqn winning a DFC. He was only relieved when he was diagnosed with extreme exhaustion and transferred to an OTU.
Wellum later found himself flying off an aircraft carrier in 1942 heading straight towards Malta. His account is both touching and inspirational and his story was told in film in 2010 to mark the 70th anniversary of the battle.

92 Squadron, RAF were the highest scoring fighter squadron of the Battle of Britain.

Here, on the eve of the 75th Anniversary Geoffrey Wellum reflects on flying Spitfire's during the Battle of Britain.











I used the recent Revell release of their 1/32 Spitfire Mk.II, this kit is not without it's problems but on the whole it can be built to a reasonable replica of this legendary fighter.
To enhance my model, I used Barracuda resin flying surfaces, radiator and cockpit parts. I also made use of the excellent Eduard PE set which produces excellent detail in the cockpit. The markings for QJ*K /K9998 are not currently available as an off the shelf decal sheet so I had to buy scaled sheets of RAF code letters from Xtradecals. With the usual set and sol treatment they set down well onto the airframes surface.

This model was painted with RAF coded Mr.Hobby acrylics. I have to mention that if you want excellent colour definition, these paints are spot on! They used to be a devil of a thing to buy in the UK, but now I have found a supplier in the far east who will sell me these paints and send them to me. At last! 

This build is a tribute from me to the few, and of course Sqn. Ldr Geoff Wellum who said:
"If you remember one of us-then you have to remember all of us" 
Geoffrey Wellum (Right) with Flt.Lt. Brian Kingcombe 1940.



Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum DFC. 


















"Our Wall" by William Walker.

Here inscribed the names of friends we knew, Young men with whom we often flew. Scrambled to many angels high,  They knew that they or friends might die. 
 Many were very scarcely trained,  And many badly burnt or maimed.  Behind each name a story lies  Of bravery in summer skies;  Though many brave unwritten tales  Were simply told in vapour trails.  Many now lie in sacred graves  And many rest beneath the waves.  Outnumbered every day they flew,  Remembered here as just 'The Few'. 



This print by Phillip West called "Defending the Realm" depicts P/O Wellum flying K9998 over the White Cliffs of Dover during 1940.  It is signed by Geoffrey Wellum and other famous BoB veterans. It has pride of place in my home.

Post Script:

I found this charming photo of Geoffrey Wellum with HRH Prince Charles from the Battle of Britain memorial service in London. I just had to post it here!