KITS 04/2022

Spitfire Mk.Vb, EP120, S/Ldr Geoffrey W. Northcott, CO of No. 402 Squadron RCAF, RAF Merston,

West Sussex, Great Britain, June–November, 1943

Canadian Geoffrey Wilson Northcott was born in Rapid City, Manitoba, in 1920. Prior to joining the RCAF

in June of 1940, he worked on the family farm. On

completing basic training in January, 1941, he was

moved to Britain and underwent operational training

with No. 52 OTU in Debden. This was followed by assignment to No. 401 Squadron RCAF. At the beginning

of May, 1942, he boarded the USS Wasp and headed off

to Malta, where he arrived together with his Spitfire

on the 9th of the month. He was assigned to No. 603

Squadron and soon made a name for himself in combat. After the unit was decommissioned in August, he

was transferred to No. 229 Squadron, but did not stay

for long, as by the end of the month, he was back in

England with No. 53 OTU. In May, 1943, he was named

CO of No. 416 Squadron RCAF, but was then reassigned

to No. 402 “City of Winnipeg” Squadron RCAF, which

he led from June, 1943, to July, 1944. In January, 1945,

he would become the CO of the elite No.126 (RCAF)

Wing, and remained in that post through to March,

1946. In 1949, he went into the Reserves, and finally

left the RCAF in 1955. Over the course of the Second

World War, he was awarded the DFC with Bars and the

DSO for nine confirmed kills, one probable and eight

damaged aircraft. Six of the kills (four Bf 109s and

a pair of Fw 190s) were gained while flying his personal Spitfire EP120

Spitfire Mk.Vb, AB276, F/Lt Václav Hájek, No. 313 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, RAF Hornchurch, Great Britain,

January–June, 1942

Spitfire Mk.Vb AB276 served operationally with No.313

(Czechoslovak) Squadron from January 13, 1942 to

June 8 of the same year. It was most often flown by

F/Lt Václav Hájek, who on April 10, 1942 likely shot

down a I./JG 26 Fw 190 south of Gravelines. Other pilots who flew missions in AB276 were Sgt. K. Pavlík,

Sgt. F. Bönisch and P/O V. Michálek. No. 313 (Czecho-

slovak) Squadron Spitfires are known for their carrying Walt Disney characters through the first half of

1942, when the unit was a component of Hornchurch

Wing. The author of the artwork was Sgt. Karel Pavlík,

who put his talents as a graphic artist to good use

and applied the characters below the windscreen

of individual aircraft according to the wishes of the

pilots. The rendering of the kitten “Figaro” with the

inscription “Mnoho Štěstí” (Best of Luck) is probably

the most recognized because of a photograph of it,

in which Sgt. Pavlík is shown during its creation. Its

likeness also appears on a granite monument near to

where Sgt. Pavlík crashed, not far from the town of

Dranouter, Belgium.

Spitfire Mk.Vb, AB184, Sgt. Olav Dionne, No. 332 (Norwegian) Squadron, RAF North Weald, Essex,

Great Britain, August, 1942

Norwegian pilot Olav Dionne served with No. 332

(Norwegian) Squadron through 1942–1943. His first

kill was gained during combat over Dieppe on August 19th, 1942, when he downed a Do 217 flying this

aircraft. In 1943, he was made an officer, and flying

April 2022

Spitfire Mk.IXs, he recorded another four confirmed

kills. After the war, he entered the Norwegian civil

aviation scene, and was killed in 1946, a mishap while piloting a Ju 52. Spitfire AB184, which Dionne flew

in August, 1942, was one of the most striking aircraft

to fly with No. 332 (Norwegian) Squadron. The cockpit

door bore the Norwegian flag, an inscription “Joe II”

appeared below the windscreen, and the fuel tank

cover carried artwork of a snorting bull, above which

was a swastika, denoting the kill over Dieppe.

INFO Eduard