The RAF is commemorating this year's 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain with a fetching makeover for one of its Eurofighter Typhoons, repainted with the markings of 249 Squadron's Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson VC DFC.
Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson VC
Nicolson won the only WWII Victoria Cross awarded to Fighter Command on 16 August 1940, when he was shot down over Southampton by Luftwaffe fighters. His citation reads: "Flight Lieutenant Nicolson's aircraft was hit by four cannon shells, two of which wounded him whilst another set fire to the gravity tank. When about to abandon his aircraft owing to flames in the cockpit he sighted an enemy fighter. This he attacked and shot down, although as a result of staying in his burning aircraft he sustained serious burns to his hands, face, neck and legs."
To add insult to injury, the Home Guard fired on Nicolson as he parachuted to the ground, and he was "further wounded in the buttocks by shotgun pellets".
The Nicolson-branded Typhoon will perform at airshows across the UK this summer, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Ben Westoby-Brooks of Coningsby’s 29(R) Squadron.
He said: "It is a great privilege to fly this extraordinary aircraft in recognition of the sacrifices made by our predecessors 75 years ago. Their task of securing the skies was critical in the summer of 1940 and it’s an honour to pay tribute to those few brave airmen who gave their all when the stakes were so high."
The Typhoon mixes it up with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Hurricane. Pic: Richard Paver/Ministry of Defence
Flight Lieutenant Nicolson's nephew, Mr Jim Nicolson, was on hand at the Typhoon's unveiling, and said: "I’m so thrilled that the Royal Air Force has commemorated this aircraft the way they have. It just looks amazing. The plane is amazing anyway but to see it in those colours it is just fantastic and it is the icing on the cake for me."
Nicolson survived the Battle of Britain, and was later transferred to India with the rank of Wing Commander. He was killed on 2 May 1945 when flying as an observer aboard a B-24, which ditched in the Bay of Bengal following an engine fire. ®