Wartime Mosquito pilot to be Stow Maries guest of honour

Jim Dearlove, now 102, will appear at the Great War Aerodrome’s Propwash event on July 23

Jim Dearlove who, as a 23 year-old RAF pilot, flew his de Havilland Mosquito on daring bombing raids on the German capital Berlin, is to be Guest of Honour at the Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome’s Propwash air show on July 23.

The RAF veteran, who still plays golf every week with his three friends (the four have a collective age of 370) has enthusiastically accepted an invitation from the SMGWA charity to appear before an audience of visitors to the show and answer questions about his experiences over the five years he spent in the Royal Air Force.

“All of us at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome are honoured and delighted to have Jim join us at Propwash,” said Ian Flint, Chief Executive Officer of the charity which runs the aerodrome.

Having joined the RAF as a 19-year-old in 1940, Jim did his initial flying training in Devon and also some in Canada under the Empire Air Training Scheme. He then went on to be a flying instructor and spent a further 15 months in Canada before returning to the UK where he joined 571 Squadron at Oakington in Cambridgeshire.

Now and then - Jim Dearlove today and during his RAF days
Now and then - Jim Dearlove today and during his RAF days Courtesy Stow Maries

There he was introduced to the iconic Mosquito (“a beautiful aircraft; the fastest thing out there”) and from November 1944 until April 1945 he flew many missions to Berlin carrying single 4,000lb bombs (“you knew when you dropped them!”).

“The Mosquito could outfly the fighters the Luftwaffe sent up to intercept us and while my aircraft was attacked on a couple of occasions when returning home, I was never shot down,” said Jim.

Propwash is a new event on the Stow Maries calendar and is the first of its type totally dedicated to aviation. Weather permitting, flying displays will take place while on the ground there will be plenty of attractions for visitors including the opportunity for up-close-and-personal photo opportunities to clambering into cockpits.

Note that tickets are available by advance purchase only from www.stowmaries.org.uk

Display pilot Johnathan Martin-Hale with the Isaacs Fury
Display pilot Johnathan Martin-Hale with the Isaacs Fury Courtesy Stow Maries