1979. De Havilland Chipmunk. Biggin Hill, England.


De Hav­il­land Chipmunk

I flew this beau­ti­ful air­craft a few times from Big­gin Hill air­drome in the coun­ty of Kent, Eng­land. It han­dled like a dream.
Although I’m not fly­ing in this shot…this is the actu­al air­craft I flew. It was amaz­ing to fly over the fields where Spit­fires and Hur­ri­cane’s bat­tled Messer­schmitt 109’s and Ger­man bombers dur­ing the “Bat­tle of Britain”…just sev­en­ty years ear­li­er. Thanks God Britain prevailed…or there would­n’t have been a plat­form for the Allied inva­sions a few years lat­er. I grew up in south London…they called it “Bomber Alley” dur­ing the war, when Ger­man bombers and their fight­er escorts ld cross the south coast of Eng­land on their way to bomb Lon­don town.
My moth­er used to talk about the sky being black with Ger­man bombers. My father was strafed by a Ger­man fight­er plane as he ran home from the pub to be with my moth­er dur­ing an air raid.
He was in the RAF and was part of a demo­li­tion team that would clear air­ports of boo­by traps left by the retreat­ing Ger­man air force near the end of hos­til­i­ties. It was hard to get him to talk about the war. But he did once tell me about a time they drove into a recent­ly aban­doned air­port, and there was a big oil drum sit­ting in the cor­ner of a hang­er. Lying on top were these beau­ti­ful new tools. My dad said it looked sus­pi­cious so he tied a long rope to a span­ner (wrench) and walked back to a safe posi­tion. He gave the rope a tug and the whole hang­er went up in a giant explo­sion. He once pulled an uncon­scious man from a burn­ing petrol (gaso­line) lor­ry (truck). He died at age sev­en­ty nine back in 1992…my broth­er John and I miss him.






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