Armitage, Michael.


BCA ed. 1993. 288 pp., photo-ills., + maps. D.j., 25 x 19cm. FINE. Bearing the tipped-in Signatures of Three Battle of Britain Pilots: John Ellis (610 Squadron), Ronald Walter Wallens (41 Squadron) and Percy Morfill (501 Squadron). This book is an authentic record of the development of the RAF, one third of which is devoted to World War II. Written by a man whose service life was inextricably woven into many of the details described, this volume represents an important historical review. Pasted to the prelims of this book are the signatures of three British Battle of Britain Pilots. The first is a signed piece of paper inscribed John Ellis Sqdn Ldr. OC 610 (County of Chester) Spitfire Squadron Biggin Hill 1940. Over Dunkirk in May 1940 Ellis destroyed a Bf 109, a Bf 110 and on bomber escorts in June he destroyed another Bf 109 and shared in the destruction of another enemy aircraft. Ellis claimed a Do 17 shared in July, a further 7 Bf 109’s throughout August and a He 111. He took command of 610 in July 1940 and was awarded the DFC in August. He was awarded a Bar to this in 1941. He went to the Middle East at the end of 1941 and served with the Desert Air Force until appointed Wing Leader in Malta in 1943. He was reported a POW in 1943 after his engine failed during the invasion of Sicily and after the war Ellis was made an OBE and then a CBE before retiring as a Group Captain in 1967. The second signature, by Wallens, is written on his home notepaper with printed address and reads R. W. Wallens, D.F.C. S/Ldr RAF (Ret’d) 41 Fighter Squadron Hornchurch 1940. In August 1940 Wallens claimed 3 Bf 109’s, shared a Ju 88 and claimed another Bf 109 in September 5th. On the same day his aircraft was severely damaged during an attack on Do 17s. He baled out of his Spitfire, X4021 with a badly wounded leg. In 1944 Wallens was commanding 277 (ASR) Squadron. He was awarded the DFC, being then credited with at least four enemy aircraft destroyed and having been responsible for rescuing a number of men from the sea. Each signature is accompanied by a photocopied brief biography and it is on this paper that Percy Morfill of 501 Squadron has signed his name. In May 1940 Morfill went to France with 501 where he destroyed a Bf 109 and a He 111. Back in England he claimed Bf 109s destroyed in July and August, a He 111 and in September, a damaged Do 17, shared a He 111 and destroyed another Do 17. He was awarded the DFM in October 1940. He went on to instruct during the war, ending up in Southern Rhodesia, and worked on Bomber Research and Development after the war. A unique copy boasting the tipped-in signatures etc., of three acclaimed Battle of Britain Pilots.

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