Saturday, 1 August 2015

August Newsletter

We are happy to report that the Whirlwind Fighter Project had an excellent day down in Yeovil yesterday, at the families day laid on by AgustaWestland at the Yeovil factory airfield to celebrate 100 years of Westland Aircraft. Mike was able to show a rear fuselage skeleton, though this was pinned together for the day and will need to go into a jig once the new premises are up and running.
As well as a great deal of interest and support from the public, we were also delighted to meet the family of WEW Petter, who spent some time on our stand discussing the Whirlwind and the designer's legacy.
Copyright Jim Munro
Gunnar, Jim and Matt took some time out to watch the formal unveiling of a plaque to the memory of Petter by his daughter Francoise Buchignani, who braved the rain to give a heart-felt speech of thanks to all at Westland concerned with this memorial (the relief model Whirlwind on the plaque was created from profile data compiled by our project).

Copyright Jim Munro

Mrs Francoise Buchignani with The Reverend George Wood
We were also greatly entertained by 263 veterans The Reverend George Wood and Jonnie Shellard   who can be seen above along with the plaque to HWH Petter. We were lucky enough to have them spend the morning with us. 

George proved by far the best T-shirt and hat salesman!

Copyright WFP 2011/2015
 Above is the work completed so far on show at Westlands anniversary bash. Thanks to Mike who surprised us all with what he had completed so far.

Copyright WFP 2011/2015
Copyright WFP 2011/2015

 Many thanks to AgustaWestland for having us.

Interesting fact corner

While attending the W100 we were passed a file on the Whirlwind that was done while the aircraft was at Boscome Down for testing within the paperwork was this interesting fact.

In a 15 degree dive the Whirlwind had an indicated airspeed of 420MPH without any buffetting, which left the Mk1 Spit standing.


This month thanks go to Michael Brydges for his very kind donation to the project.

If this project is something that you would really like to support and as we don't have a membership fee of any kind, we can always accept payment by standing order, be it monthly or annualy it really doesnt matter, just let me know and I will let you have our bank details.

Or you can donate via our web page........Donate 

If you count all the sales and donations on the day of the W100 we raised £425.00 for the project.

So a big thanks to all those who opened their wallets or purses, every little helps. 

Jeff Beaumont
Jeff has been kind enough to let us has a transcript from Air27 regarding his Fathers time at 263 Squadron.
1940.  Part one
June............. Drem. 263 Squadron return from Norway to Drem for reforming with

24th.............................. S/Ldr. H. Eeeles posted to command the Squadron.
28th.........................  Squadron move to Grangemouth.

July....................... During the next six months the Squadron were
frequently called out on scrambles, but no contact was made with the enemy.
F/O T.P. Pugh was posted to the squadron on 1st. On 6th S/Ldr. Eeles
brought the first Whirlwind to the squadron. On 13th Sergeant P. Watson-
Parker was killed on active service as a result of a flying accident at
Biggin Hill: four Hurricanes were delivered to the squadron on the same
date. On the 19th the makers (Westlands) delivered two Whirlwinds and a
third Flight, “C”, under the command of F/Lt. W.O.L. Smith was formed for
their development. P/O H. Downer made a crash landing on the 20th, was
extricated, but subsequently died as a result of his injuries at the
Military Hospital, Edinburgh. On the 22nd a Whirlwind demonstration was
given to the C-in-C, Home Fleet, at Fosyth, who congratulated the squadron
by telegram. The 23rd saw the first collapse of a Whirlwind tail wheel on
landing. P/O C. Bell was killed on active service on the 24th; he was on a
Blenheim course at 50 O.T.U. The teething troubles of the Whirlwind were
manifest during this month, and most of the training was with Hurricanes.
 August.......... saw the continuation of training on Hurricanes coupled with
the development of the Whirlwind. “C” Flight was discontinued and all
pilots received Whirlwind experience. On the 7th S/Ldr Munro was posted to
the squadron and his efforts to persuade the cannon to fire without
stoppage were attended with success. On the same day P/O I.D. McDermott was
forced to bale out North of Sterling. Arrested by the Home Guard he was
released on the Squadron Leader's assurances. The Whirlwind concerned was a
total loss. On the 18th F/Lt. R.S. Mills, DFC, was posted to command 87
Squadron. On the 25th P/O. D. Stein was forced to bale out of a burning
Hurricane. He landed safely but he too was taken into custody and later
released. During the night of the big raid on Newcastle the Squadron was
called to Readiness. Although the squadron was not called upon, a signal of
congratulations was received from the Secretary of State for Air. Towards
the end of the month there was considerable and reciprocal hospitality
between H.M. submarine “Sunfish” and the Squadron.
Sept.....  The Squadron return to Drem. During September “A” Flight, developing
Whirlwinds, were non-operational. “B” Flight were operational on
Hurricanes. On the 2nd the squadron was honoured by a visit from the Rt.
Hon. Sir Archibald Sinclair, PC, MP, Secretary for State for Air. S/Ldr.
J.G. Munro and P/O. D.A.C. Crooks demonstrated the Whirlwinds. The 14th was
the occasion of a visit to the Station by HRH The Duke of Kent. “A” Flight
gave a Whirlwind demonstration. On the 16th F/O. T.P. Pugh was promoted to
the rank of F/Lt. During this month S/Ldr. Munro on firing practice in a
Whirlwind was identified by the Observer Corps as a Junkers* and a Spitfire
patrol was sent to intercept. Happily no trial of arms took place.
October.................. “A” Flight still non-operational. “B” Flight were operational on
Hurricanes. On the 22nd Blue Section led by F/Lt. Pugh did an extensive
patrol of the Firth of Forth in extremely bad weather. Group send a
congratulatory message to the Squadron on this patrol.
November..... On the 8th “B” Flight moved to MacMerry but were not operationally
engaged there, and on the 12th moved to Prestwick with eight Hurricanes to
cover a special target believed to be HMS Formidable.
 On or about the 28th the squadron was moved to Exeter and were to operate
solely with Whirlwinds. During this month the big raid on Coventry took
place and all night operational pilots were called to available.
December..... Changes in personnel make this a disastrous and retarding month. The
7th saw Whirlwinds operational for the first time. On the 8th, the Observer
Corps being unfamiliar with these aircraft, air raid warnings were sounded
in the Exeter district. F/O. A.W.N. Britton was killed on active service on
the 12th whilst on firing practice. Neither the pilot's body or the aircraft
were recovered from the sea. F/Lt. J.P. Blick was posted to Grangemouth as
Station Adjutant. On the 16th S/Ldr. H. Eeles was posted to command the RAF
Station at Drem; command of the squadron was assumed by S/Ldr. Munro. On
the 29th six aircraft were ordered to fly to St. Eval and from there to act
as escort to two Catalina flying boats arriving from Bermuda. F/Lt. W.O.L.
Smith and P/O. D.M. Vine were killed on active service. They crashed near
Bovey Tracey while flying to St. Eval in extremely bad weather. The escort
was subsequently undertaken by six aircraft led by F/Lt. Pugh.

© TNA AIR 27/1551. Transcription by Jeff Beaumont, 2009.

To be continued next month.

Whirly Stories
 Joined 39MU on the 26th of September 1941 at Colerne, joining 263 Squadron on the 15th of October at Charmy Down. She suffered flak damage in November while being flown by Geoff Warnes. A few days later she was again damaged. on the 12th of January 42 her tailwheel collapsed and on the 19th of February she was damaged again,on the 23rd of June she had another tail wheel collapse this time at Warmwell. On the 13th of April 43 she went to Westland, rejoining 263 on the 18thof April at Warmwell now as HE-C. A heavy landing on the 18th of May while being flown by George Wood ( who is featured above at W100) followed by a forced landing in June and finally crashing on the 13th of July 1943 while being flown by Len Knott  who was injured.
Operational hours 109:50
Total hours 349:50.

Signed print from a painting by Dave Gibbings MBE and signed in facimilie by Petter, Penrose and Davenport.

£25.00 plus P&P

                                                       T Shirt £10.00 plus P&P

Baseball Cap £9.00 plus P&P

Wooden Whirlwind model great for office or desk top.

£60.00 plus P&P

Mug £6.00 plus P&P 

This book is available from Rob Direct at-

Copyright WFP 2011/2015

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