Ian Willoughby Bazalgette, VC
, (19 October 1918 - 4 August 1944), was born in Calgary
, Alberta, Canada and while serving in the Royal Air Force
was awarded the Victoria Cross
, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British
With the end of his tour of 28 operations, Bazalgette was on a leave in April 1944 when he was "recruited" and transferred to No. 635 Squadron RAF No. 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group based in Norfolk. When his conversion training was completed, 25 year-old "Baz" flew as Acting Squadron Leader, taking part in a number of operations in and around the D-Day campaign, including some operations of which he was the Master Bomber.
On 4 August 1944 at Trossy St. Maximin, France, Squadron Leader Bazalgette's Lancaster bomber was amongst a formation spearhead on a daylight raid on German positions. When near his target, his bomber came under severe anti-aircraft fire from the ground, putting both starboard engines out of action and causing a serious fire. In spite of this, the squadron leader pressed on to the target, marking and bombing it accurately. He then attempted to bring the burning aircraft to safety, having ordered those members of his crew who were able to do so to bail out. Although he managed to land the plane, it immediately exploded, killing him and his remaining two wounded crew members. It was for this action that he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
The Supermarine Spitfire
was a British
single-seat fighter aircraft
, used by the Royal Air Force
and many other Allied
countries during the Second World War
, and into the 1950s. The Spitfire was the only Allied fighter in production at the outbreak of the Second World War that was still in production at the end of the war and was produced in greater numbers than any other allied plane of the era.
The distinctive silhouette imparted by the elliptical wing helped the Spitfire to achieve legendary status during the Battle of Britain. There was, and still is, a public perception that it was the RAF fighter of the Battle, in spite of the fact that the more numerous Hurricane shouldered a great deal of the burden against the potent Luftwaffe. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire saw service throughout the whole of the Second World War, in most theatres of war, in several roles and in many different variants. The Spitfire was to continue to serve as a front line fighter and in secondary roles for several air forces well into the 1950s.