40th anniversary of the first shooting down of an enemy aircraft by a Hurricane catapulted from a ship cover signed by Commander M.A Birrell who was the first ever pilot shot from a catapult ship in 1941. Also signed by Captain G.C Baldwin DSC, a Hurricane pilot with the Fleet Air Arm.
Birrell flew with 79 Squadron and then 809 Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm.
79 Squadron was reformed on 22nd March 1937 at Biggin Hill, being formed from B Flight of No.32 Squadron. Initially the squadron was equipped with Gauntlets until the end of 1938 when they were replaced with Hawker Hurricanes. When World War Two broke out, 79 Squadrons role was to fly defensive patrols until May 1940 when 79 Squadron was sent to France for only a short period of 10 days. The Squadron took part in the Battle of Britain and after the Battle of Britain the squadron moved to South Wales until the end of 1941. 79 Squadron was sent to the Far East on 4th March 1942 arriving in India on 20th June. Between May 1944, and September 1944 No.79 was withdrawn from active service to be re-equipped with Thunderbolts and after the war the squadron was disbanded on 30th December 1945.
WW2 RAF Battle of Britain pilot M.A Birrell signed cover
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