by Philip E. West
Overall print size 28” x 14”
The ever-vigilant crew of this Mosquito night-fighter successfully intercept a Luftwaffe Bf110 as it heads towards a bomber stream over target in Germany.
by two Mosquito night-fighter pilots including
Wing Commander Branse Burbridge DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar (85 Sqn. Pilot) gained his wings in 1941. Putting duty before personal feelings as a conscientious objector Branse, together with his navigator, Bill Skelton, became known as “The Night Hawk Partners”.
The two of them went on to shoot down 21 enemy aircraft - 16 during a seven-month period. The total included a Bf110 and three Ju88Gs during the night of 4-5 November 1944. Their officially credited 21 enemy aircraft destroyed made the pair the top night fighting crew in the whole of the RAF. Branse recalls, “I always tried to aim for the wings of enemy aircraft – and not the cockpit. I never wanted to kill anyone.”
The citations for their awards paid tribute to both men setting “an unsurpassed example of outstanding keenness and devotion to duty”.
a rest from operations, during which he taught budding night fighter
pilots air gunnery, John Hall teamed up with John Cairns as his
navigator/ radar operator and they joined 488 New Zealand Night
Fighter Squadron at Bradwell Bay on the Essex coast, destroying
three German bombers during the “mini-blitz” of early
1944. The Squadron flew over the D-day beaches from Zeals, and
Colerne in Wiltshire, before moving at the end of 1944 to Amiens
Glisy in northern France and then to Gilze Rijen in Holland, where
it celebrated VE Day. During this time Hall shot down a further
5 German aircraft over France and Germany
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