All,

To begin, thanks to all of you who have taken time to visit the Here's what happened thread which started in late April 2001. The stories, mission accounts and fine discussion was a part of my online time since that time.

It appears that the software has been stressed to the maximum with the shear size of HWH and as such further posts to it are apparently not possible. Jolly Roger Too among others has suggested that I start a new thread to keep the idea of HWH intact. I sincerely am honored to be allowed to begin the new thread and hope it brings you as much fun and enjoyment as the old one did for me. It is after all, BoB and the BoB that bring us together.

So without further delay (or bs) I hereby begin with one of my favorites from the original thread.

By Jolly Roger Too


On the Last Day, Episode One

On the last day of his life, Maj. Hans Gootentag, son of Martha and Carl, husband of Edda and father of two, is flying a mottled, gray BF109E high in the sun over England.
It always seemed a miracle to Hans if they got the bombers through at all. As group commander he had made sure to follow all the precepts that so far had ensured him minimal losses.
One fighter group flew as direct protection, covering the bombers on every flank, all the way through to the target. A second batch moved in to relieve them, escorting the bombers from the target back to the channel.
A third group on a free hunt combed the sky for British fighters. And yet a fourth took over at the Channel shepherding the bombers back to France.
Hans, as flight leader, had flown the full length of this formation and now he had serious doubts. How could 120 fighters protect a formation of bombers 40 miles long?
His fighters tactical flying time was 8 minutes and their operational radius was 125 miles. This left just 10 scant minutes, if the RAF came up to play. Hans smiled to himself, for the RAF always was in the mood for a good scrap.
As his keen eyes scanned the sky ahead he now saw the Spitfires and Hurricanes begin rising through the low cloud layer toward the bomber stream. Calling out his warning he turned into the oncoming attack.
Flying into that same shining orb my flight of Spitfires passes through a brief layer of cloud as we search for Hans, his fighters and their deadly charges.
Our airfield had been showered with bombs and 30 Do 17s were, even now, reported over Rochester.
I use a little rudder, a bit of right stick and adjust my throttle as we make a course change. Now we can see ugly, black palls of smoke burgeoning skyward.
Suddenly, the date is September 5, 1965 and a bevy of historians, scientific experts and war enthusiasts including hundreds of English school children, are gathered respectfully around the shattered, mud and slime encrusted remains of an old WW2 vintage Spitfire.
The aircraft has just been raised from its watery grave in a British farmers pond where it had augured in during the Battle of Britain.
As I closely observe the proceedings, totally captivated, it becomes obvious that the pilot did not get out before the crash.
Slowly, his pitiful remains are reverently removed from the shattered cockpit and they are placed upon a large, white sheet. The RAF uniform just recognizable to me as that of a flight Leader hangs about the corpse in tatters and rags.
Wait. Someone examining the skeleton has noticed a large, metallic object adhering to the grizzly remains of the pilots left wrist.
I draw even closer just to see what they have found. My God! Oh my dear God! I recognize it. Its my watch...
It is at times like these, climbing swiftly into a sun possibly filled with death, the Spit's engine screaming, my goggles and oxygen mask on and adjusted, throttle wide open, my hair on fire, that I often find myself thinking of the ridiculously macabre.
I take a second to look at my watch. No time for further reflection, the 109s have seen us and are coming down.

On the Last Day, Episode 2

On the last day of his life, Flight Lieutenant, Peter Goodfeller-Smythe, son of Sir Percival and Lady Beverley, and just turned 19 years of age, awakened early.
His sleepy eyes opened instantly at the soft touch of his devoted Batman, Felix. There was just time enough now to don his perfectly tailored flight dress, collect his flying kit and then walk the short distance to grab a quick breakfast at the informal mess hut.
As the cold, gray dawn began to break over a besieged England, Peter wolfed down what was to be his last meal.
He must have known, as we all surely knew, that at this precise moment other pilots were also preparing in a similar fashion across the Channel for another day of combat over Britain.
These were the brave pilots who wore the uniform of our enemy. They would be coming again in droves to shower our homes, factories and airfields with deadly bombs.
It had only recently become Peter's job and that of just a few others to stop this obscene onslaught of terror and death.
As we climb now toward the bomber stream and the falling fighters, Peter is flying close on his wingman. With all the busy work attendant to keeping a tight formation, he now knew a moment of sweating terror. For his task was to protect the two men ahead, Wallace and Wing Leader, Jolly Roger 2.
The thought just struck him like a 20-mm shell bursting at his ear. In this rigid display formation that the RAF still flew, made up of tight, V- shaped formations of three planes. there was no one to protect Arse-end Charlie, except Charlie himself.
What was it that wag Canadian had said? You are either promoted from that spot, mate, or buried. Peter silently prayed he would be promoted first. The prayer would, sadly, go unanswered.
Eyes dilated, his neck muscles stiff as steel bands, he craned frantically to see where the fighters were now. They were coming down fast between his flight and the bombers. They were not there yet. He took a deep breath to steady his nerves (it was to be one of his last)... he had a few more seconds.
Then it all happened so fast that I found it difficult to register it all for this combat report. The fighters were on us. As the jolly Hurris grimly continued after the bombers Acorn flight bit into the 109s and 110s with a vengeance.
They must not stop the gallant Hurris led by the stone brave if slightly arrogant Bader. I peeled away after a mottled, gray 109E and a hasty glance showed Wallace was close along with me.
Peter saw Jolly peel away, and then Wallace followed. He too was howling down behind them. In seconds Peter had somehow lost them both.
All he saw was a Me110 that instantly went into a tight, climbing turn to shake him. Then he was firing, giving the Me110 all he was worth. As he fired, the glittering paper-chain of tracers showed him that his shells were going as wide as the 110s-rear gunners.
Nose up. Pull your nose up. Get ahead of him. It was his last thought...

On the Last Day, Final Episode
Spiraling down in a veritable shower of fighters, I found myself in a position to fire upon a 109 that was just beginning to climb again.
Back a bit on the throttle. I actually stand on the rudders as I take merciless aim just ahead and to the left. My shells spark as they rake along the gray beast from its yellow spinner to its tail. Great pieces of cowl and metal fly off as the wounded bird shudders.
Oily smoke billows from what was the engine. I barely saw it flip over and the lucky pilot fall into space. A moment of envy is my last thought of him. For this man the war is now over.
A check of my six and a call to my wingman encourages me to climb back up into the maelstrom of death that fills the sky above us. Where is Peter? Throttle to the pins and the Spits nose again points upwards.
Ahead, there is a battle between one of ours and one of their 110s. The 110 seems to be a dead pigeon as the Spitfire has it dead on a plate. A few seconds more and it will be all over. A look back, a quick look to my left.
Break,Red 3! I have a bogey high and above, and hes firing, I shout! From out of the thin cloud layer above has fallen a sleek and deadly, gray bird with black crosses.
One pass with machine guns and cannons firing and the unwary Spit driver finds himself wrapped in nothing but shreds, shards and flames.
He has no hope of getting out as his proud British coffin with broad wings begins its short, graceless fall to earth. It is that frightful moment that we are close enough to recognize the falling hero is our Peter.
The Me110 is now gone. The 109 will not be so lucky. We are on him like jam on a hot biscuit. My first shots are too wide. Reacting to my tracers the 109 begins a zoom. My next shots are too far behind and to the left. This fellow is good. Or lucky.
The 109 rolls as it climbs and I am like his shadow following every desperate move, every attempt to trick me off his tail. This fellow is really good. But his tail is mine as sure as if Mars himself has willed it to be so.
On we climb. My shells begin to cover the engine and then the cockpit and wing roots. My Spit is nigh onto stalling and yet on and upward the mortally wounded 109 climbs.
I will not let go as the constant buffeting of the oncoming stall begins to gain more of my attention. My .303 shells crash mercilessly into my now luckless enemy. The 109 begins to waver. First left, then right it wobbles. There is a loud CRACK and another more muffled explosion.
As the Spit begins to roll into a spin I see greasy clouds of smoke and flame erupt like the fingers of doom itself from the little enemy fighter. It flips over on its back and precedes me back down through the cloud. I gain control of my spin and follow it down. Ill see if I can get quite close.
Most of the canopy is missing. Flames lick at the shattered windscreen. The pilot sits strapped dead in the cockpit. The wind is tugging at his powder blue flight suit as if in an attempt to wake him from what will surely be a long slumber.
The markings that are still discernable on his withered craft are those of a squadron leader. There are many hash marks painted proudly upon the tail. That was for you Peter...and, all the others.
The date is September 5, 1965 and a bevy of historians, scientific experts and war enthusiasts including hundreds of school children, are gathered respectfully around the shattered, mud and slime encrusted remains of an old WW2 vintage Spitfire.
The aircraft has just been raised from its watery grave in a British farmers pond where it had augured in during the Battle of Britain.
As I closely observe the proceedings, totally captivated, it becomes obvious that the pilot did not get out before the crash.
Slowly, his pitiful remains are reverently removed from the shattered cockpit and they are placed upon a large, white sheet. Wait. Someone has noticed something metallic adhering to the grizzly remains of the pilots left wrist.
I draw closer to see what they have found. My God! Oh my dear God! I recognize it. Its Peters watch.

Your Turn.....

TALLY HO!