Excerpt from Duel of "Eagles" by Peter Townsend, an RAF pilot's experience in the Battle of Britain...

picture of book Duel of Eagles

Return to Croyden, taxi in. Ground crews waiting anxiously: has my pilot fired? They scanned from afar to see if the fabric covering has been blasted from the gun  ports.  Now a man holds each wingtip. Swing her round, switch off.  The fitter is up, leaning in the cockpit. "Any joy?" Briefly you tell what happened.

Quick re-arm and refuel.  Men are on the wings.  Men with spanners, with bands of belted ammunition.  Cowlings are 'unpinned', the 'Bowser's' nozzle rammed into the tank, right wing, fuselage, left wing - three tanks full up.  Oil checked, Radio checked, re-tuned. Oxygen bottle changed.  Windscreen cleaned.  Five minutes, and the Hurricane is ready to go again.

Then, hanging on their propellers, the RAF is climbing back into the sky to meet with the Luftwaffe again, and again.


From Olfux's channel, a more relaxed version of a Hurricane's checkout before takeoff, from the Battle of Britain's memorial flight.