18 November, 1915 - 9 July, 1991
Taking his Hurricane off from Speke, a raiding JU88 crossed the airfield in front of Denys Gillam, who promptly shot it down. It was the fastest air victory of the war, and probably of all time. Robert Taylor’s painting shows Gillam’s Hurricane, guns blazing while undercarriage is still retracting.
REEL 1 Recollections of operations as pilot with 616 Sqdn, No 12 Group, Fighter Command, RAF in GB, 9/1939-7/1940: qualities required by fighter pilots; impressions of first Supermarine Spitfires Mk Is; success against Junkers Ju 88s over Driffield; operations over Dunkirk, France, 5/1940-6/1940; squadron pilot who had psychological breakdown; threat of anti-aircraft fire from Royal Navy warships in English Channel. Recollections of operations as pilot with 616 Sqdn, No 12 Group, Fighter Command, RAF during Battle of Britain, 8/1940-9/1940: posting to RAF Kenley, 8/1940; reasons for squadron casualties; handling inexperienced pilots; performance between Supermarine Spitfire Mk II and Messerschmitt Me 109; tactics employed.
REEL 2 Continues: method of bailing out; opinion of German pilots; lack of collisions; opinion of Junkers Ju 88; method of gaining height from RAF Kenley; weather during battle; comparison between Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire; daily routine during battle; personal motivation; question of why battle was won; lessons learnt from battle; condition he was in at the end of the battle; attitude towards Germans; communication in air.
REEL 3 Continues: will to survive during battle and afterwards. Aspects of operations as pilot with 312 (Czechslovak) Sqdn, No 9 Group, Fighter Command, RAF in GB, 10/1940-12/1940: shooting down Junkers Ju 88 over RAF Speke, 8/10/1940; character of Czechoslovakian and Polish pilots. Aspects of operations commanding 615 Sqdn, No 11 Group, Fighter Command, RAF in GB, 9/1941-11/1941: posting to squadron, 9/1941; explanation of ‘The Channel Stop’; squadron casualty rate; tactics used during German convoys strikes; bailing out after shooting down over English Channel, 9/1941. Aspects of operations commanding Typhoon Wing, No 12 Group, Fighter Command, RAF in GB, 3/1942-10/1942: formation of wing at RAF Duxford, 3/1944; operations during Dieppe Raid, 19/8/1942; character of Hawker Typhoon. Aspects of operations commanding No 146 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force, RAF in GB and North West Europe, 12/1943-2/1945: encounter with Focke Wulf 190s over Paris, France, 12/1943.
REEL 4 Continues: attacks on German radar stations in preparations for D- Day landings; move to Normandy, France, 9/6/1944; ground attack role in North West Europe; distinguishing targets on ground; physical condition at end of Second World War.