Tag Archives: Battle of Britian

Farewell, to those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines

The AVG Flying Tigers Association posted the terrible news this weekend:

“Frank Losonsky, the last living AVG Flying Tiger, headed West today, on 6 February 2020. RIP Frank, a Crew Chief of the 3rd Squadron “Hell’s Angels” was 99 and would have celebrated his 100th birthday this coming October. Frank had an early celebration of his 96th birthday at our Atlanta Reunion by performing two barrel rolls in a P-40. Frank was in the back seat and gave the pilot his usual “thumbs up”. Frank was the Eveready Bunny who never stopped…!!”

1941 AVG Flying Tigers 3rd Pursuit Squadron in front of a P-40C Tomahawk fighter.

Meanwhile, the Times reports that Wing Commander Paul Caswell Powe Farnes, DFM, AE, the RAF fighter pilot and the last surviving ace of the Battle of Britain, chalking up eight kills in Hurricanes and Spitfires, died on 28 January in West Sussex, England. He was 101. There are reportedly just two surviving members of The Few.

Wing Commander Farnes

In semi-related news, actor Robert Conrad, who portrayed legendary Marine Maj. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington in the Baa Baa Black Sheep tv series, died Sunday at 84.

The show guaranteed the oft-maligned F4U Corsair will be forever remembered and that the Marines will always have a VMF-214, a squadron that currently flies AV-8Bs out of MCAS Yuma and plans to shift to F-35Bs next year.

Found, One bomber, last of a kind, good shape

Buried in the Goodwin Sands off of the Kent Coast of England, which they plan to recover, it is known to be Do 17Z-2 WrkNr 1160 was operated by 7 Staffel, III Gruppe, Kampfgeschwader 3. It was part of a KG 2 and 3 raid to bomb RAF Debden and RAF Hornchurch on 26 August 1940. It crash-landed during the raid and sank in fifty feet of water.

The Dornier Do 17, sometimes referred to as the Fliegender Bleistift (German: “flying pencil”), was a World War II German light bomber produced by Claudius Dornier’s company, Dornier Flugzeugwerke. It was designed as a Schnellbomber (“fast bomber”), a light bomber which, in theory, would be so fast that it could outrun defending fighter aircraft.

A dozen early Dorniers were sent to Spain to fly in the Confor Leagion of fasict volunters flying for Franco in the Spainish Civil War. The Spanish referred to the planes as the Bacalaos (“Codfish”). The unit was named VB/88 (Versuchsbomben Staffel, meaning Experimental Bomber Squadron).[60] VB/88s Dorniers were involved in a strike around Guernica, but that particular unit’s objective was a bridge, rather than civilian areas. VB/88 dropped 8 tonnes (9 tons) of bombs, while K/88 added 37 tonnes (41 tons) over the city itself causing the deaths of about 1,500 people, and the subject of Picasso’s famous painting.

(<—- Guernica, by Picasso, showing the terror of aerial bombardment)

It was on 12 March 1938, Do 17Es of KG 155 dropped pro-Nazi leaflets on Vienna, as a prelude to the city’s occupation during the German Anschluss operation.

In the Second World War they were very active in the early Blitzkreig in the West, Norway, Greece and the Battle of Britian where the Dornier Do 17s losses in the Battle of Britain are given as between 132 and 171, the lowest losses as a ratio of the three German bomber types in the campaign. Service on the Eastern front and finally as a night fighter against Allied bomber formations in 1944-45 closed its war campaign.

The example off of Kent, if salvaged, will be the only known example of the craft on display, the last flying version being scrapped in Finalnd in the 1950s.