GROUP CAPTAIN DUNCAN SMITH and ALAN DEERE ENSEMBLE:
Unframed Matted Ensemble: $77.84
Framed Silver Ensemble: $117.35
Framed Gun Metal Ensemble: $117.35
(Overall size 17½” x 13½”)
Two of the most famous fighter aces of WWII. Duncan Smith, a highly decorated Battle of Britain pilot, flew four operation tours on Spitfires, led 64 Sqn, then 244 Wing’s Spitfires in Malta. A great Wing Leader and a double-ace with 13 victories, ‘Smithy’ always led from the front. Determined, fearless, and a highly skilled fighter pilot, Duncan Smith had the respect of all squadron and wing pilots he led, and was decorated for gallantry no fewer than five times!
It was with 54 Sqn that Deere flew his first Spitfire, the aircraft he was to fly and fight through the Battle to Britain, and to the end of his operational career. Deere was a ferocious fighter ace, subjected his aircraft to stresses beyond the makers warnings, was always in the thickest of the dog-fighting, and led a charmed life: He and his aircraft parted company no fewer than 9 times, but during a distinguished combat career he accounted for 22 enemy aircraft destroyed in the sir.
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DUNCAN SMITH DSO, DFC BIOGRAPHY
I made up my mind to join the RAF if war threatened, so after the Munich Debacle in October 1938, I applied and was accepted into the RAFVR. I started training in early 1939 on Miles Hawks, Tiger Moths, and Masters, later converting to Spitfires. At Hawarden I experienced my first crash – amid-air collision with an Anson coming in to land, but luckily escaped without serious injury.
The next day I joined my operational squadron 611 (County of Lancaster), where the C.O. warned me that breaking Spitfires was not a pastime he liked! I remained with 611 for nearly a year flying Spitfire Mk I’s and it was in this aircraft that I intercepted and damaged my first Ju 88 off Skegness one afternoon. I remember thinking how pretty the rear gunner’s tracer looked, whizzing past my cockpit – the deadliness of it all not registering till after I had gone to bed.
In November 1940, we moved to Rochford – Hornchurch Sector – to counter daylight attacks by German Mel09’s upon airfields in the South East. I flew as a squadron pilot throughout 1941 when we provided fighter escort to bombing missions and in August was appointed a flight commander in 603 Squadron. I had now flown over 150 offensive operations, mostly at high altitude, and been in action against Me 109’s continuously throughout. During this period I destroyed eight enemy aircraft, probably destroyed five, damaging a further ten and awarded the DFC and Bar. Flying as many as four sorties a day over 30,000ft had taken its effect – on landing back at base one morning I passed out and was rushed to hospital with double pneumonia. After sick leave, 11 Group posted me to Southend as Station Adjutant – this was a greater shock than going into hospital!
I was soon itching to get back to operations and was relieved when Harry Broadhurst, Hornchurch’s Station Commander, got me command of 64 Squadron. An important operational commitment now included supporting the Hurricane Bombers in flak-busting and anti-shipping operations.
In August 1942 my Squadron took part in the combined operation against Dieppe. We flew 4 squadron sorties and destroyed five enemy aircraft for the loss of two pilots and three aircraft. I shot down two Dornier 217’s and got shot down myself in the process. Surviving that, I was delighted to learn the next day that I had been awarded the DSO and appointed to take command of the North Weald Wing. During this period I destroyed 6 enemy aircraft, probably destroying 2 more and damaged 3.
No 64 Squadrons was my first command and as such had great significance to me personally. It was one of the first Squadrons to be equipped with the Spitfire Mk I, and later during my command, was the Squadron chosen to receive the first Mk IX Spitfires in 1942. The pilots, crew, and staff on 64 Squadron were a splendid team, great friends, and second to none.
In December 1942 I was posted to HQ Fighter Command as Wing Commander, Tactics, but in May I was sent to Malta.
Assuming command of the Cuqa Spitfire Wing, we took part in the Allied landings in Sicily, and later posted to Desert Air Force as Wing Leader of 244 Wing, in support of the 8th Army. On the 2nd September, I baled out because of mechanical failure and spent 6 hours in my Mae West off the toe of Italy.
By November 1943, as a Group Captain, I was commanding 324 Wing, based at Naples, supporting the American 5th Army in their advance towards Florence including the assault on Cassino and the landings at Anzio. Our forward airfield at Anzio came under artillery fire, however in August we moved to Corsica, supporting the V.S. 7th Army’s invasion of the South of France. In the ground attack role we strafed radar stations, German transports and lorried infantry. By the end of September 1944 my Spitfire Wing was recalled to Italy and converted to the fighter-bomber role in support of the 8th Army in its difficult operations crossing the Po Valley. I ended my war commanding No 1 Base Area (Naples) before returning to England in August 1945. During my fourth operational tour I destroyed a further 5 enemy aircraft and damaged 2. In March 1945 I was awarded a Bar to my DSO. In 1952 following an operational tour on Spitfires and Vampires in Malaya I was awarded a second Bar to my DFC.
Notes on Aircraft flown in Combat, 1939-45
I have flown 11 different Marks of Spitfire operationally from the Mk I to the Mk XXII. Of these I flew Mk’s I, 11, Va, Vb, VIII, IX and XVIII in Combat. My favourite remains the Mk IX/VIII. It was an aircraft with superb handling qualities, enough power to take you to altitude rapidly, it had a top level speed in excess of 400 mph, and a combat performance of climb, rate of turn and acceleration, better than any enemy aircraft I ever fought against.
AIR COMMODORE ALAN DEERE BIOGRAPHY DSO DFC
I joined the Royal Air Force in 1937, and set sail from New Zealand for England. In October of that year, I commenced flying training on Tiger Moths.
I passed through my pilot training successfully and was posted to No. 6 Flying Training School at Netheravon, to commence training on service aircraft. Here I flew Hawker Harts and Hawker Furies, a single seater fighter still in service with front-line squadrons.
A joyful six months flying on Gladiators followed. During this time I became fully operational, but not quite without incident. In the early part of my Gladiator flying I experienced complete engine failure at a height of 2,000 feet and was forced to land in the nearest field. A frightening experience at such an early stage of flying, however I not only got away with it, but I received a pat on the back for my effort. A great boost to my ego.
I flew a Spitfire for the first time in March 1939. It was a thrill I shall never forget. I continued to fly Spitfires right throughout the war, during which time I flew most of the various marks. I think I can fairly claim that at the cessation of hostilities there was no more experienced pilot on this aircraft. The versatility and deceptive toughness of this great fighter made it, I believe without question, the outstanding fighter aircraft of World War II.
It has always been said by my contemporaries that I bore a charmed life, but if I had not had a Spitfire strapped to my bottom for the whole of my operational career, I doubt that I would have survived. Tough as it was the Spitfire could not be expected to survive the treatment to which I regularly subjected it.
It causes me some embarrassment therefore to record that we parted company on no less than nine occasions. The fact that I survived was thanks to a great deal of luck and the reliability of the Irvine parachute. Nevertheless, I can say, I think with justification and not a little pride, that as a partnership we accounted for 22 enemy aircraft destroyed with numerous others, either ‘probably destroyed’, or ‘damaged’.
The fact that I became WWII’s top-scoring fighter pilot from New Zealand means far less to me than the knowledge that the overall contribution made by fighter pilots from my country was disproportionately high considering the small population of our small islands in the South Pacific.
My fighting war finally came to an end when I flew my last operational sortie over the Normandy bridge-head on D-Day. It was for me a fitting finale and a good time to say farewell operationally, to my beloved Spitfire. We had done much together, and what better moment to see out our time together than the invasion of France which signified the beginning of the end of the Germans.
No 54 Squadron has a special significance for me. It was my first operational Squadron, to which I was posted in 1938. With it I flew Gladiators, and subsequently Spitfires-during the Battle of Britain. It was at this time that I first met “Sailor” Malan, who became a legend in the war, and to my way of thinking, the best fighter leader in World War II. “Sailor” and I became close friends during our time together at Hornchurch, and when in 1943 I assumed command of the Biggin Hill wing it was at “Sailor’s” request as Station Commander at the time.
ALAN DEERE and DUNCAN SMITH ENSEMBLE (RAF: Spitfire: Battle of Britain)@vbader.com