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  #1  
Old 30th April 2010, 16:28
Brian Brian is offline
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Spitfire escort to Churchill's York c.28/5/43

Hi guys



On or about 28 May 1943, Prime Minister Churchill departed Gibraltar in his York, escorted by a flight of Spitfires. Can anyone advise from which unit these Spitfires were drawn?

Cheers
Brian
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Old 1st May 2010, 11:50
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: Spitfire escort to Churchill's York c.28/5/43

Brian,

Only resident Spitfires were of 544 Squadron, but these were PR types.
Therefore a N. Africa based squadron comes to mind, like No. 43, 81 or 92.

Churchill's York was escorted by "cavorting" USAAF P-38s as well, I read somewhere.

Regards,

Leendert
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Old 4th May 2010, 11:16
VoyTech VoyTech is offline
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Re: Spitfire escort to Churchill's York c.28/5/43

Brian, are you sure the Spitfires left Gibraltar with him? Wouldn't that be a bit far for fighter Spitfires? I think it was usual to send out fighters from UK to meet VIP transport aircraft on their way in and to escort them into London or wherever.
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Old 4th May 2010, 12:20
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: Spitfire escort to Churchill's York c.28/5/43

Hi VoyTech

The PM was flying eastwards 'down the Med' and the York did receive a Spitfire eascort for part of the way, probably form one of the units Leendert mentioned.

Cheers
Brian
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Old 4th May 2010, 13:12
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: Spitfire escort to Churchill's York c.28/5/43

Brian,

There is a story of the York's navigator that seems to suggest that the RAF Spitfires flew out of Gibraltar and that the escort was taken over by USAAF P-38s from Oran.

In January 1943 USAAF Spitfires of the 308th FS/31st FG took position at Casablanca to cover the arrival of Allied leaders for the upcoming conference there.

Regards,

Leendert
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Old 4th May 2010, 13:13
stefaan stefaan is offline
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Re: Spitfire escort to Churchill's York c.28/5/43

Hi.
I think 1 sqdn SAAF was involved.
Can't remember the details but it may narrow down your options.
Pilot in charge may have been Hannes Faure.
Hope it helps
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Old 4th May 2010, 13:32
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: Spitfire escort to Churchill's York c.28/5/43

Thanks for that, Stefaan.

Leendert - in what publication is the story covered?

Cheers
Brian
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Old 4th May 2010, 14:21
Bruce Dennis Bruce Dennis is online now
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Re: Spitfire escort to Churchill's York c.28/5/43

Hi Brian,
Just a tidbit for you. In case you haven’t already consulted it, from ‘Churchill Goes to War’ by Brian Lavery : the York crew were ‘… unhappy with the escort of American P-38 Lightning fighters, as the pilots seemed more interested in getting close enough to see the Prime Minister through a window and hoped to get a glimpse of his famous V sign.’ As the catering aboard the York was inadequate on this trip and the PM was going hungry, they might well have got the V sign they were seeking!


He describes the journey on the 28th without mentioning Spitfires as if the escort was only P-38s.

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Bruce
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Old 4th May 2010, 17:18
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: Spitfire escort to Churchill's York c.28/5/43

Thanks guys

Stefaan - I don't believe you are correct - 1 SAAF provided escort for the PM's 1942 visit to Egypt. I can't find anything in the SAAf histories for 1943!

Cheers
Brian
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Old 4th May 2010, 20:09
stefaan stefaan is offline
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Re: Spitfire escort to Churchill's York c.28/5/43

Yep. you are right.
I went to check the 1 sqdn history.
Nothing mentioned for the later date.
I only remember seeing the photographs, so had to check the dates now that I am back at my PC.
Sorry
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