The Pilots


Pilots of No. 245 Squadron RAF walk past their Hawker Typhoon Mark IBs to their dispersal hut at Westhampnett, Sussex, on completion of a 'Noball' sortie against a flying-bomb launching northern France.

Pilots of No. 245 Squadron at RAF Westhampnett, Sussex

RB396 will be a living memorial to the brave crews who operated and maintained the Hawker Typhoon during it’s RAF service.  Through her, we will ensure that the stories of the Typhoon’s crew are preserved and that they are remembered.  The pilot profiles in this area are of the men and women who flew the Typhoon and the unique perspective they bring.  A number of the pilot’s aircraft have been recovered and will help to make RB396’s return to the skies possible.

Please Note

All crash sites such as these are protected by law in the UK and require a strict code of conduct, special permissions and licences before anything can be removed. All recoveries by the team are carried out in full compliance with UK law to preserve what is left before it is lost forever.

Laurence W.F. 'Pinkie' Stark by Captain Cuthbert Orde

RB396’s Pilots – F/L Lawrence ‘Pinkie’ Stark

On the 16th of November 1944, Flight Lieutenant Lawrence ‘Pinkie’ Stark was attached to the Gloster Aircraft Company at Hucclecote, Gloucestershire. ‘Pinkie’ Stark, so nicknamed due to his rosy complexion during coal collection duty in the cold winter of 1940, was test flying Hawker Typhoon aircraft as they were completed at the Gloster factory. ‘Pinkie’ …

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Anna Leska-Daab in her ATA personnel photograph, 1941

RB396’s Pilots – Anna Leska-Daab

The 9th November 1944 was just another busy day for Polish Air Transport Auxiliary pilot Anna Leska. In the morning she delivered a Rolls-Royce Griffon engined Supermarine Spitfire MkXIV to RAF Cosford before hitching a ride to 51 Maintenance Unit at RAF Lichfield to fly a new Hawker Typhoon down south to RAF Westhampnett (now Goodwood). …

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Frank Johnson c1944

RB396’s Pilots – P/O Frank Johnson

An air test is supposed to be a simple flight, test the repaired aircraft and ensure all is well. Pilot Officer Frank Johnson had just completed his air test when his radio crackled into life. He was told that they ‘had action for’ him. A lone Fw190 had just blasted across his home airfield and …

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George at the launch of the Hawker Typhoon RB396 project at Goodwood,  29th October 2016

Reverend George Wood RAF

George Wood was born in January 1922 in East Grinstead. He became a Wolf Cub, then a member of the 3rd Wimbledon Scout Group. In August 1939 he set out to attend a Scout camp in Groeningen, Holland, having to leave suddenly on the second day because of war preparations. He volunteered for aircrew in March 1941 …

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‘Killy’ Kilpatrick and DN510

By Anthony Knight – Typhoon Entente Cordiale Trust Secretary and Killy Kilpatrick’s nephew The Irvine Airchute Company introduced the Caterpillar Club for persons whose lives had been saved by their parachutes. Very many pilots during the Second World War and after owed their lives to their parachutes but few could claim that they had nothing …

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Wing Commander J.F.D ‘Tim’ Elkington RAF

On Sunday 16th September 2018, our Events Manager, Dave Hands, had the pleasure of meeting with Wing Commander Tim Elkington at his home.  Together, they chatted about Tim’s long RAF career (Tim joined in 1939 and retired in 1975) which saw him fly an incredible range of aircraft, including Hurricanes in The Battle of Britain, Russia …

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F/O Henry ‘Harry’ MacKenzie (JR523) RCAF

F/O Henry “Harry” Hector MacKenzie was born on 17th April 1920, at Anyox, British Columbia, Canada. On the 13th August 1941, at the age of 21, he enlisted in the RCAF (Vancouver). After gaining his wings on the 18th August 1942 he was posted to England, just 12 months after enlisting. After conversion courses in …

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RBellis RCAF2

F/O Robert Samuel Bellis (MN532) RCAF

On the 27th March 1945 F/O Robert Bellis (RCAF) was attached to 56 Operational Training Unit (OTU) flying out of RAF Milfield in Northumberland. Whilst on a training flight in the Muirkirk area, Scotland, the weather closed in, reducing the visibility considerably. Shortly afterwards whilst passing through the valley that Stony Hill flanked Hawker Typhoon …

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P/O Kenneth Osborne Mitchell (JR439) RCAF

On the 18th March 1944 RCAF squadrons 439 and 440 were moving from RAF Ayr to RAF Hurn (Bournemouth) via RAF Woodvale in Lancashire. The 2 squadrons consisted of a mixture of Hawker Hurricanes and Hawker Typhoons in preparation for the D-Day landings. During the first leg of the flight to RAF Woodvale P/O Mitchell …

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FO Cobbetts Resting Place

P/O John Frederick Cobbett (JP600)

On the 7th January 1944 174 ‘Mauritius’ Squadron were involved in operations over France. While attacking a site near Behen two aircraft, JP600 and JR373, collided whilst pulling out from a steep dive. Flight Sergeant R.V Smith managed to bale out of his stricken Typhoon, becoming PoW however, Flying Officer John Frederick Cobbett was unable …

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