Tuesday, 1 March 2016

  March Newsletter

Along with many other newsletters and magazines within the aviation world the project would like to express it's sadness at the passing of Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown and pass on it's thoughts and prayers to his Family.

A great picture of Eric here…on the Ar234B

Eric was a patron to many organisations and projects across the country and although he wasn't directly connected to the WFP he did in fact fly a Whirlwind among many of the different types he had under his belt and he was also a good friend of our Jim Munro.

Around 5 years ago now, WFP member Jim Munro (whose father was briefly a Whirlwind CO back in 1940/41) approached Captain Eric Brown for an interview for Jim's nascent Westland Whirlwind film project.  From this a friendship grew between the two, possibly aided by the fact that loosely speaking they hailed from the same neck of the woods, N.E. Scotland.
More recently Jim had helped facilitate a speaking engagement by Captain Brown at the West London Aero Club in September 2015 and later arranged a pre-Christmas lunch with his companion Jean and himself at 'The Duke's Head', Copthorne.......Eric's local hostelry.   We were joined on that occasion by well known artist Barry Weekley who handed over to Jim a superb original Whirlwind painting showing a 263 Squadron Whirlwind flying above a Fishing Boat in the Firth of Forth with the iconic (and now World Heritage) Railway Bridge dimly visible in the distance.  At Jim's request, Eric was gracious to sign that painting for him, especially appropriate given that the Eric had briefly evaluated the Whirlwind during WWII and also given the location depicted, adjacent to Eric's home city.

On a separate occasion Captain Brown remarked that Harald Penrose, the iconic Chief Test Pilot of Westland Aircraft had been his mentor.   It would be interesting to know whether this fact is mentioned in Eric's autobiography or not.'

During our filming involvement with Eric he commented that he gave the Whirlwind 8 out of 10 as a low level fighter bomber, explaining that he would have awarded 10 out of 10 but for the relatively sparse armour protection provided for the pilot..............unsurprising given its original and very different designed role.   Captain Brown also commented that 'it's a good bunch of people you've got on that Whirlwind project!'.    A very kind remark that was typical of a man whom we will dearly miss....................  Our thoughts and condolences go out to his companion Jean, his son Glenn and to the wider family.  An unrepeatable life!

…and at AeroFlight in Farnborough

We have had contact from Melanie Morris regarding a pewter mug that has come into her possesion, and she wanted to know if we could shed any light on a Paul who served with 137 Squadron the following is from Rob Bowater.

137 Squadron was formed in October 1941 and disbanded in August 1945. During that period 158 pilots served with it, of which 63 were killed. Of the 158, only one was named Paul – he was Paul Milton LaGette, an American citizen who was born in California on 12 January 1919. He travelled to Canada to join the Canadian Air Force before America entered the war, Nicknamed Jeep (I know not why), he joined 137 on 21 December 1941 and flew 19 Operations on Whirlwinds. He was involved in what is today called a ‘friendly fire’ incident when he and another pilot shot down an RAF reconnaissance aircraft over the North Sea on 27May 1942. He was posted on 31 July 1942, survived the war and returned to the States but was killed in a motorcycle accident in January 1963.

Without a date on the inscription, it is only conjecture, but the mug may have been presented to him when he was posted away from the Squadron. It is possible that he was discharged from the Canadian Air Force when he left 137 Squadron in order to join the American Air Force. (The American 8th Air Force arrived in the UK around this time). I have been unable to verify this but it would explain why the rest of the Squadron gave him a mug – usually when a pilot was posted it was just a party.

Paul LaGette

This photograph was posted by Kenjohan on the Flypast forum and I though it was worth posting on here as it's a very good picture of Harald Penrose.

JHH Hill                   Harald Penrose             J Ramsden

 Bomb Rack

The project is now the proud owner of a Bomb Rack as fitted to the Whirly Bombers, the Whirly was able to carry a 500lb Bomb under each wing but it was usual to carry 250 pounders. Thanks to Matt Painter for the purchase from Ebay.

Not only but also
Here's the tailwheel fork - adapted from a 1950's DHC Beaver fork that Matt Bearman located at a bush-plane repair shop in Canada, it's now complete except for the end-caps/bolts and locking washers. These would have come from that Typhoon set of parts we were outbid on. Still, a good rummage in B & Q should get us something to use until other original parts come up ;-)



The final details for the AGM are now being sorted out this will go into next months newsletter and is expected to be held in July.

A quick message from our Chairman

Just my apologies for the build delay we are just waiting for the weather to give contractors
a good window to get the foundations down for the first of three hangers for the museum and workshops.
The first hanger being the workshops and the whirlwind is one of the first scheduled to move in and
the jig to be installed and work to start.
We are provisionaly hoping that part of our inauguration of the museum and whirlwind
project build will take place at our AGM at the new workshops.Just waiting for confirmation from
the contractors to get us up and running.
Mike E

£25.00 plus P&P

                                                                     £16.70 plus P&P

                                                                      £6.00 plus P&P

                                                                  £12.00 plus P&P

                                                                 £9.00 plus P&P
We are waiting for the prints of P7056 to be signed by John McClure and returned to us from Canada.  

Contact chris-hayward@outlook.com
Copyright WFP 2011/2016

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