Fundraising drawing board in the Bank of England.
cessary amount between August 8th, 1940
and February 3rd, 1941. The very next day,
the Bank of England Spitfire Fund transferred the money to the Ministry of Aircraft
Production. The staff of this banking institution still hold two fund-raising events a
With the funds thus raised, a Spitfire Mk.
IIb with serial number P8509 was acquired
and in early September 1941 it was taken
over by No. 266 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF.
The Spitfire, of course, bore the donation
inscription THE OLD LADY (Bank of England). In December that year it was given
to No. 277 Squadron, which was engaged
in rescue operations over the sea. In April
1944 it was written off after a collision with
another aircraft at No. 61 OTU.
Eric Sidney Dicks-Sherwood
This aviator, whose name is also given as
Sherwood or Dick-Sherwood, was born on
January 6th, 1917, in Salisbury, Southern
Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe). He
worked as a plumber before the war and
joined the RAF in July 1940. While serving
with No. 266 Squadron he was promoted
to officer rank and in May 1942 was posted to No. 603 Sq. in Malta. In August he
served briefly as an instructor in Egypt, but
The £5,000 cheque from the Bank of England Staff Spitfire Fund. Thanks to this effort RAF financed the Spitfire
Mk.IIb P8509 "THE OLD LADY (Bank of England)". Wing Commander Jameson flew with her on September 15th,
1941 and claimed one Bf 110 as destroyed.
INFO Eduard - June 2021
Photo: Bank of England Museum A280
Photo: Bank of England Museum 745
The Old Lady
As in many countries and eras, the UK
and the Commonwealth had a fundraising
initiative during the Second World War to
purchase weapons, especially aircrafts. It
involved municipalities, businesses, societies, whole communities living abroad or
individuals. Ordinary miners as well as the
Indian Maharajah contributed. To purchase
a fighter in 1940, £5000 had to be raised, a
twin-engined machine costed £20000 and
a four-engined aircraft came up to £40000.
The aircraft then bore an inscription chosen by the donor. The £5000 needed to buy
a Spitfire is roughly equivalent to a quarter of a million of this currency today. The
exact number of Spitfires so funded is still
unknown, but there were more than 900.
The Bank of England staff, unofficially
known in Britain as "The Old Lady", decided
to fund one Spitfire too. They raised the ne-
Photo: Bank of England Archive 17A26/1
One Bf 110 shot down was claimed by Sgt
Stanley Brooker. Another was claimed
jointly by F/Lt Arthur Vokes and Czechoslovak Sgt Vojtěch Lysický. The same pilot
reported another Bf 110 damaged and one
damaged was also claimed shared with his
compatriot F/Sgt Jaromír Stříhavka. 3)
The only loss on the Luftwaffe side, however, was the 30% damage to a Bf 110 E-2
that landed on its belly at De Kooy base.
The gunner Gefr. Alfred Bunke was wounded in the battle.
The claimed victories on the German side
exactly matched the British losses. The
names of some of the gunners are known
from the reports as well. One victory each
was claimed by the crews of Ofw. Lambert
Spitzer / Uffz. Zimmer, Ofw. Heinz-Wilhelm
Kornacker (his gunner is unknown),
Gefr. Max-Ottmar Bopp / Gefr. Zimmermann and Lt. Martin Drewes / Uffz. Fritz
Commemorative plaque presented to the Bank of England in 1941.