Entries by Paul Beaver


Audio from Chalke Valley History Festival 2018. Always fearless, sometimes impetuous, Captain Eric Brown, better known as Winkle, was an early jet and rocket fighter pioneer. Unusual in being a naval pilot, his experience in immediate post-war Germany and at the Royal Aircraft Establishment has passed into legend. His biographer Paul Beaver separates reality from […]

Spare a thought for the Bomber Boys: The unknown air campaign of 1940

Whilst the troops at Dunkirk struggled to get away from the German onslaught and Fighter Command kept up dawn-to-dusk combat air patrols, spare a thought for the Bomber Boys. Flying obsolescent aircraft, often without clear objectives, target restrictions and little good intelligence, the aircrew of Bomber Command raided Germany and the Low Countries to both […]

Dunkirk Ace – the first Spitfire pilot to win his spurs

Bob Stanford Tuck was every inch the fighter pilot as if ordered up from Central Casting; brave, good-looking, a crack shot and a superb aviator. The London boy who did not excel at school and nearly made the Merchant Navy his career, was to become the first Spitfire Ace in May 1940 in the skies […]

Why is the Spitfire is such a British icon?

I’ve flown the Spitfire. It’s magic. The first time, it nearly reduced me to tears.  And I am not alone as it is the pinnacle of most people’s flying experience. And it is an experience which stays with you for ever because the Spitfire is everything that is special, that is familiar; that is right; […]

How wartime communities bought Spitfires

Wiltshire Moonraker and Sarum & South Wilts – how wartime communities bought Spitfires. Even in 1940, the Spitfire had celebratory status. Communities and individuals around the British Isles and across the Dominions and Empire were thinking of new ways to collect money and entice their friends to part with their hard-earned savings to buy a […]