I was the face on the poster....

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http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2911031/Im-the-RAF-hero-in-famous-1942-poster.html

...now that was some flight in a damaged Blenheim.....why cant these journos get it right for pete's sake !

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because most newspaer 'aviation correspondents' are lucky if they can tell the difference between Concorde and a Spitfire

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You've lost me. What's the error?

Moggy

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A flight back from North Africa to Britain in a damaged Bleinheim is the problem ...

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Obviously there's something not right here, but as newspaper aviation howlers go it's a pretty minor one, I'd suggest.

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Well it is the Sun! There obviously couldn't have been much careless talk as he is still alive.:)

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Ah, indeed.

In the famous image, Mr Blair is smiling in his airman's kit as if he hadn't a care in the world.

But just the day before, the former air ace of 113 Squadron had saved himself and a comrade with an act of bravery that won him the coveted Distinguished Flying Medal.

Dashing: Mr Blair was pictured in north Africa in 1940 after earning the Distinguished Flying Medal for bravery

He said: ‘I look cheerful in the photo. I always look cheerful. But it doesn't tell you the true story - the full picture.

‘The day before, we had been sent out to bomb an enemy airfield at Derna, about 400 miles west of Alexandria.

‘We were in a Blenheim bomber, and I was the observer. That's the guy in the front who does the navigation and drops the bombs.

‘But as soon as I had released the bombs, a fighter-plane attacked us.’ Glasgow-born Sqn Ldr Blair still has the blood-stained flight log he made that day. The pencil entries end suddenly.

He said: ‘There was an almighty bang. When I looked round, the pilot - a chap called Reynolds - was slumped forward on the controls.

‘I think it was the very last round that killed him. It was really unfortunate. His luck had run out.

‘Then the aircraft went into a steep dive.’

Despite having never flown an aircraft in his life before that moment, the young airman - paid one shilling and sixpence per day extra to fill in as part-time air crew - took charge.

He said: ‘From that moment the only thing going through my mind was survival. Everything happened so quickly, and we had to get the heck out of there.

‘I managed to pull the pilot's body off his seat and get the aircraft under control. But we still had to get home and land the thing.

‘My gunner, Hank, sent a message back to base saying: “We're in dire trouble here, the observer is flying the aircraft.”

‘Lo and behold, when we got back to base there was whole gallery of people, cars, ambulances and fire tenders all lined up waiting for the ultimate - but it didn't happen.

‘I had spent a long time watching pilots, and made a textbook landing. We came down in a shower of dust.

‘Perhaps I was a bit over-confident. The air officer commanding the base apparently said: “If that guy can fly an aircraft without a pilot's course, let's send him on a pilot's course.”’

He was presented with his DFM by George VI.

Mr Blair, who joined the RAF as a boy entrant apprentice aged 16 in 1934, went on to fly Spitfires against the Luftwaffe, and was shot down twice before the war ended.

He said: ‘They say that if you walk away from a landing, it's a good landing.

‘I spent 11 months in hospital after one crash but the strangest effect was psychological.

‘Each aircraft has its own smell. After the incident in the Blenheim, I couldn't bear the smell of Blenheims. It was the same after I was shot down in a Spitfire.

Further Googling show the well known part of Britain he got the aircraft back to was the strip at Maten Bagush. (Presumably somewhere down the road from Market Rasen)

Even fuller account here: http://113squadron.com/id191.htm

Moggy

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Great read and the capacity of the tanks on that flight must have been phenomenal

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I thought his name is Ian Blair not John Blair as the Sun says.

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I thought his name is Ian Blair not John Blair as the Sun says.

Don't worry Tony Blair will claim the credit soon :dev2:

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introduced to the queen, that must have been an honour ........... for her!

Classic comment on there.

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Ians Blenheim

The Blenheim MKI at Duxford will be painted as the one in which Ian won the DFM `THE OLD`UN`

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Don't worry Tony Blair will claim the credit soon :dev2:

No he'll apologise.

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Classic comment on there.

I'm pretty certain she wouldn't dispute that either.

I thought his name is Ian Blair not John Blair as the Sun says.

First name John, known as Ian if I am not mistaken

Moggy