24 Jul 2009

No 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron RAF

The Pilots and Their Spitfires

There were many brave pilots from all countries involved in World War 2. Because I am from the West Coast of Scotland, I will try to remember some of the brave men from 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron RAuxAF. The following pages show artwork of the Spitfires and Pilots of 602 Squadron.

602 'City of Glasgow' auxiliary squadron was a household name long before WW2 began. It had been the first auxiliary squadron to get into the air in 1925. Two of its members, Lord Clydeside and David McIntyre were the first to fly over Mount Everest in 1933. The squadron sweeped the board in gunnery and bombing, and achieved the second most kills during the Battle of Britain and more imporantly for the least of themselves shot down, beating the regular squadrons at their own game. It was the first auxiliary Squadron to be equipped with Spitfire fighters as far back as March 1939 and it was the squadron to shoot down the first enemy aircraft on British Soil.

The squadron moved south from Drem airfield in East Lothian on August 14th 1940 to relieve the already battered no. 145 squadron at Westhapnett, Tangmere's satelitte station in Sussex. The squadron suffered 5 casualties during the battle. The squadron remained at Westhampnett until December 1940 to be replaced by 610 auxiliary airforce squadron. 602 squadron itself remained active up until 1957 when it was put into mothballs.

I also fly as a virtual pilot in the flight simulator IL2 Sturmovik along with friends from the virtual European Air Force - 602 Squadron. In this squadron, we have all chosen our own callsigns including:

LO-P Painter, LO-J Joe90, LO-S Sporran, LO-M MonsTTer, LO-F Flashheart, LO-D Jarred, LO-E Puffman, LO-W Whizz (here is the most up to date roster)

602 Pilots and a Spitfire Mk IXb at Detling, April 1944

LO-Z Flt.Lt. Raymond Baxter

See my Machinima Movie showing Raymond Baxter and fellow pilots during Operation Big Ben here.

Raymond Baxter, who became a household name as a radio and television commentator and presenter after the war, flew Spitfires during WW2. One of his many memorable exploits against the German V1 and V2 effort, graphically described to the artist, is the subject of this print. Flt. Lt. Raymond Baxter's Spitfire Mk. XVI and F/O P.C. Webb narrowly avoid a church spire as 602 Sqn. makes a precision low level attack on the V1/V2 headquarters in The Hague on March 18th 1945.

A Dutch eye-witness wrote "1945 the 18th March! I'll never forget! As a 17 year old boy I found myself somewhere on the fourth floor of the building, and when I looked out of the window I saw aircraft diving down from the sky and flying straight in my direction. Air raid! The building was badly damaged and our dwelling (adjacent) was totally destroyed, but we all survived including our spaniel Robby!"

LO-P F/O P C Webb

F/O P.C.Webb of No 602 Squadron was injured on the 9th of September 1940 at 17:30hrs. He crash landed his Spitfire I (K9910) at Box Grove, Sussex after being attacked by a Bf 109 over Mayfield.

SPECIAL DELIVERY by Michael Turner

LO-B Air Commodore Alan Deere CBE DSO DFC

A magnificent painting specially commissioned to commemorate the Anniversary of the Allied Victory in World War II and the 40 plus years of peace in Europe. Britain's leading aviation and marine artist brings to life the two greatest fighter aircraft ever to fly, in a gigantic vista over Londan and the River Thames. Air Commodore Alan Deere in his Spitfire and Wing Commander Bob Stanford-Tuck in his Hurricane. A truly symbolic painting, rich in color and brimming with emotion, a picture to commemorate the greatest military victory in history.


LO-D Pierre Closterman DFC

Ten Focke-Wulfs began to prowl round us, at a respectful distance, as if suspecting a trap. Anxiously Carp and I kept an eye on them. Suddenly they attacked in pairs. Short of juice as we were, all we could do was to face each attack by a very tight 180° turn, fire a short burst in the approximate direction of the Hun, and immediately resume our position by another quick 180° turn. This performance was repeated a dozen times but we succeeded in making the Focke-Wufs keep their distance. They eventually tired of it - or so we thought.

Over Dieppe the fighters gave way to the Flak. We were flying at about 10,000 feet. The german light Flak opened fire with unbelievable ferocity. An absolute pyramid of black puffs charged with lightning appeared in a fraction of a second. Violently shaken by several well-aimed shells, Carp and I separated and gained height as fast as we could with our meagre reserves of petrol. The poor Liberator, incapable of taking any sort of violent evasive action, was quickly bracketed. Just as, after a few agonizing seconds, we thought it was out of range, there was an explosion and the big bomber, cut in half, suddenly disappeared in a sheet of flame. Only three parachutes opened out. The blazing aluminium coffin crashed a few hundred yards from the cliffs in a shower of spray, dragging down the remaining members of the crew. With heavy hearts we landed at Lympne, our tanks empty. (Pierre Closterman, 'The Big Show')

ESCORTS by B. Freudenthal

LO-E Jaques Remlington

"Look out, yellow section, Flak-ship, one o'Clock !" And immediately after Frank Wooley, it was Ken Charney who saw a Flak-ship, straight in front of us! "Max blue attacking twelve o'clock!". A grey mass rolling in the mist, a squat funnel, raised platforms, a mast bristling with radar aerials - Then rapid stoccato flashes all along the superstructure. Christ! I released the safety catch, lowered my head, and nestled down to be protected by armour plating. Clusters of green and red tracer bullets started up in every direction. Following Jacques, I went slap through the spray of a 37mm charger which only just missed me - the salt water blurred my windshield. I was fifty yards from the Flak-ship. Jacques in front of me was firing; I could see the flashes from his guns and his empties cascading from his wings. I aimed at the bridge, between the damaged funnel and the mast, and fired a long, furious continuous burst, my finger hard on the button. My shells exploded in the water, rose toward the water line, exploded on the grey black-stripped hull, rose higher to the handrails, the sandbags. A wind-scoop crashed down, a jet of stream sputtered from somewhere. Twenty yards - two men in navy-blue jerseys hurled themselves flat on their faces. Ten yards - the four barrels of multiple pom-pom were pointing straight between my eyes - quick - my shells exploded around it. A loader carrying two full clips capsized into the sea, his legs mown from under him, then the four barrels fired. I could feel the vibration as I passed a bare yard above - then the smack of the steel wire of the aerial wrenched off by my wing as I passed. my wing tip had just about scarped the mast ! Phew ! Passed him. (Pierre Closterman, 'The Big Show')

Jaques et Pierre by B. Freudenthal

LO-F Air Commodore C J ‘Mickey’ Mount CBE DSO DFC

Flying Officer C.J Mount joined NO.602 squadron on August 8th 1940 after a brief conversion course on Spitfires. On August 18th his Spitfire L1005 was severely damaged in combat with JU 87's and BF109's over Ford. Micky was unhurt. he again escaped injury when his Spitfire X4270 was damaged landing at Tangmere. He served in many of the theatres of WW2 and he flew Hurricanes in Malta and North Africa and Wellingtons in the Middle East.

Mickey Mount and his MkII Spitfire successfully attacks a Messerschmitt Me109 low over the cliffs of Beachy Head.


LO-J Air Vice Marshal Sandy Johnstone CB DFC AE DL

Sandy was in command of no. 602 squadron during the critical days of the Battle of Britain, flying with the squadron before the war though to 1941, when he was posted to the Middle east, he also served with 229 and 249 squadrons in Malta during the Island's most fateful days of the war.

Nicolas Trudgian’s superb action painting takes place against a backdrop of a very atmospheric sky over the South Coast of England on August 25th 1940. Scrambled to intercept a raid approaching the Isle of Wight, Squadron Leader Sandy Johnstone hurriedly climbed his 602 Squadron Spitfires to 15,000 feet. In spite of short notice, the Spitfires intercepted the large force of 50 Ju88s and Do17s, escorted by Me109s and 110s, before they reached the target. The CO downed a Me110 by blowing off its tail unit before becoming embroiled in a one-on-one dogfight with a Me109 – Nicolas Trudgian’s painting captures the action – the CO despatching the enemy aircraft to notch up his second victory of the day. 602’s tally amounted to 13 aircraft destroyed without loss.

HEAD TO HEAD by Nicolas Trudgian

'Nuts' Niven

In August 1940 602 squadron were posted from their base in Scotland to Westhampnett in West Sussex, a satellite station of Tangmere. One of their first major tasks was to repel a huge German formation of aircraft that attacked Tangmere. They gave a very good account of themselves. They also gave a very good account of themselves in every dogfight and battle that they were involved in, showing their true professionalism. On many occasions they were called upon to 'Scramble' up to seven times a day. One pilot describes the conditions that they lived under, a mattress on the floor, a suitcase as a chest of drawers. They lived from day to day, most of their time spent in a Nissan hut while waiting in the 'Readiness State'.

They were all anxious to 'do their bit' for Britain and to stop the German invasion of our island. They worked as a team and it worked very well. A number of dogfights are described. One pilot 'Nuts' Niven describes his thoughts and feelings when his Spitfire was hit by a canon shell from a German fighter, severley damaging his wing while flying over the Kent countryside, something he wasn't best pleased about.

'Nuts' Niven by Puffman

S/L Chris Le Roux

Normandy, July 17, 1944. It is just over a month since the allies landed on D-Day. Field Marshal Rommel is in charge of the German defenses. He has been travelling hundreds of kilometers a day, meeting with his battle commanders, doing what he can, for a war that he knows is lost. Late in the day, he is returning to his headquarters at La Chateau Roche-Guyon. Travel is risky, the Allies have total air superiority. On this beautiful clear afternoon in the French countryside, the Desert Fox's luck is about to run out.

"Chris Le Roux, a South African was leading the flight, which was made up of Jacques, 'Mouse' Manson, Jonssen the Norwegian, Robinson, and the New Zelander, Bruce Oliver. Oliver opened fire with his two 20mm. guns and his four 303 machine guns. A second shell hit the car at the height of Rommel's back, indeed, Jacques Remlinger, in the second Spitfire, also fired, killing the motorcyclist." (The Big Show, 2004, Pierre Clostermann)



Anonymous said...

Thanks, fellas! You will never be forgotten

Laura said...

Good site, my grans first husband was 602, shot down twice. killed sept 11th 1940.. grateful for his sacrafices..

Anonymous said...

My dad was in the 602 squadron during the war. He is in the picture labelled '602 Pilots and a Spitfire Mk IXb at Detling, April 1944'.

I am so proud of him and will be eternally grateful to him and all his fellow pilots.

Thank you