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Defence of the Realm

Gladiator vs CR.42

“Battle of the last Biplanes”

In the second half of the 1930s the days of the biplane were well and truly numbered. With emphasis on speed the monoplane offered significant drag reductions while the biplane was reaching the limits of what it could safely fly. That being said however the biplane would continue in frontline service right through World War II especially in some of the lower intensity zones.

Two of the best biplane fighters of the war were the British Gloster Gladiator and the Italian Fiat CR.42. Both these designs were the best biplane fighters of their respective nations and also the last to be built and it would be these two fighters that would meet in the early days of the North Africa campaign. With both designs being the epitome of biplane fighter design for their respective nations the question must be asked; which was better?



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Source: Interview with Hermann Luttmann Designer of Miracle at Dunkerque from Legion Wargames

F G Room VC a4

Frederick George Room 1895-1932

100 years ago today

THE LONDON GAZETTE – Oct 17th 1917

No.8614 Pte (actg L./Cpl) Frederick G Room, 2Bn R.Ir. Regt. (Bristol)

“For most conspicuous bravery when in charge of his company of stretcher bearers. During the day the company had many casualties, principally from enemy machine guns and snipers. The company was holding a line of shell holes and short trenches. L./Cpl. Room worked continuously under intense fire, dressing the wounded and helping evacuate them. Throughout this period, with complete disregard for his own life, he showed unremitting devotion to his duties. By his courage and fearlessness he was the means of saving many comrades lives.”

3rd Ypres – Passchendaele – Frezenberg 16 Aug 1917



September 15 is the day officially celebrated as “Battle of Britain Day” the climax when the German Luftwaffe launched some of its largest concentrated attacks (principally against London). About 1,500 aircraft from both sides took part and at the end of the day, RAF Fighter Command had successfully managed to break up most of the enemy formations stopping them from inflicting major damage. When Hitler heard of this latest setback, he postponed Operation Sea Lion, (the planned German Invasion of Great Britain) and although the battle raged for another 6 weeks the intensity lessened as his attention focused east towards the Soviet Union.

A month earlier, Rotherfield had already experienced the battle first hand when a German Messerschmitt Bf110 was shot down in a fireball at Bletchinglye Lane. Exactly a month later, another German aircraft was about to make its own fiery appearance.

On September 15th, Luftwaffe Bomber…

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Updated 2016 with added detail of combat reports


Sqn Ldr Rodney Levett Wilkinson - CO 266 (Rhodesia) Sqn Sqn Ldr Rodney Levett Wilkinson – CO 266 (Rhodesia) Sqn

By a strange quirk of fate, while conducting research on another airman, I unexpectedly discovered that the Parish had its very own Battle of Britain airman (ack. Battle of Britain Monument). His story is not documented, so on the anniversary of his death it felt the done thing to redress the balance and remember one of our Few.

Rodney Levett Wilkinson was born on 23rd May 1910 was born in Atcham on the outskirts of Shrewsbury on 23rd May 1910 the only child to Maj Clement Arthur Wilkinson (Kings Shropshire LI) and Ruth Violet Esther Wilkinson (née Mirehouse). 11 days before his fifth birthday he lost his father, killed at Ypres. At some point after this tragic event his mother moved to Rotherfield with her young son taking up residence at The Gables in Argos Hill. The young “Wilkie” began his education at Wellington College and then followed…

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Image taken from DeviantArt.

At the Mountains of Madness, one of Lovecraft’s longest tales, is haunting yet familiar. Familiar in that, since it’s publication, we’ve seen many knockoffs and themes stolen from its premise. The story made popular the concept of ancient astronauts, or those who came to earth and interacted/interfered with pre-human history. And using Antarctica as a means to explore horror is nothing new today either. It’s films like Prometheus that make it very unlikely we’ll see an adaption of this story onscreen any time soon, which is a shame. But at the time of this novella’s writing, in 1931, all of these notions were essentially unheard of, making this a true classic.

The story is told in first person, following a chronicling of a previous expedition undertaken by the narrator himself, Geologist William Dyer. This previous expedition was one of drilling down into the ice of…

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