KITS 10/2021

N2359, P/O L. W. Stevens, No. 17 Squadron, Debden, Great Britain, July 1940

Leonard Walter Stevens was born on March 7, 1914, in the village of Hindhead in the county of Surrey. He enlisted in the RAF in

January 1939. After the training and conversion to Hurricane he was posted to No. 229 Squadron but from the beginning of July

he flew with No. 17 Squadron, at that time based at Debden airport. On March 30, 1941, he was transferred to No. 145 Squadron

where he flew as a B flight leader. His life came to an end on May 21, 1941, when upon returning from a patrol he collided with

his wingman over Tangmere. Stevens’ Spitfire Mk.IIa together with Canadian D. W. Owen crashed and both pilots perished. The

ground personnel painted Popeye the Sailorman as an angel on the Hurricane regularly flown by Leonard Stevens. Note the older type of antenna and large fuselage cockades. Their „trim” according to the upper and lower colors demarcation is fairly rare.

P3576, Fl/Lt J. B. Nicolson VC, No. 249 Squadron, Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, Great Britain, August 1940

Twenty-three years old A flight leader James Brindley Nicolson was awarded Victoria Cross for the mission which took place

on August 16, 1940, when at 13:00 the whole unit took off for a patrol. During the flight Nicolson with his two wingmen was tasked

to search an area of a probable location of three Ju 88 which in the meantime were attacked by Spitfires. Upon their return to

the unit the trio of Hurricanes was jumped from the sun by Messerschmitts Bf 110 and all British airplanes were hit. Their pilots

had to either bale out or return to the base. Wounded Fl/Lt Nicolson wanted to bale out of the burning aircraft but during his

„stepping out“ of the cockpit he was taken over by a Bf 110 so James returned to his seat and fired a good burst into him! After

that he finally baled out, burnt, and wounded and moreover, after he landed, he was shot at (and hit) by a sergeant from the

Home Guard. After he returned from the hospital in September 1941 he was ordered to India where, between August 1943 and

August 1944, he led No. 27 Squadron flying Beaufighters. W/Cdr Nicolson perished on May 2, 1945, when during the flight over the

Bay of Bengal the No. 355 Squadron Liberator, in which he was on board as an observer, caught fire. His body has never been

found. By the order dated August 11, 1940, the British cockades were to be painted on the lower surfaces of the RAF fighters. It is

not clear if, by August 16, the order was complied with on Hurricane P3576.

INFO Eduard - October 2021