The Spitfire Forums

Historic Aviation => Spitfire => Topic started by: PTBruiser on November 17, 2010, 08:47:14 AM

Title: An odd request
Post by: PTBruiser on November 17, 2010, 08:47:14 AM

I am scouring the internet for information on my great uncle, and my search has lead me to you.  My great uncle Sgt. Stan Thompson flew in the Canadian 401st out of Biggin Hill in 1941.  He was shot up over France on Oct. 27th and couldn't make it back to England.  He ejected near the coast and hit the water without his parachute opening.  He was killed at 21.  I know this may be a very odd or perhaps an inappropriate way to go about this, but I would like to know a few things about what it would have been like for him flying a spitfire. 

I fear my grandfather is reaching the last stage of his life.  He was close to my uncle and my uncle's death really shook him as a child.  Before his health goes I would like to write a song for my grandfather about my great uncle Stan.  I know this sounds stupid or cheesy or whatever... but I've been a musician for many years and my grandparents have always loved to hear me play.

Again, I hope this isn't too weird, but there are a few specific questions I have.  I was wondering if there are any nicknames my great uncle would have used for a Spitfire?  It is also likely that he was knocked unconscious when he ejected and that is why his parachute didn't open.  I would like to know how he would have ejected and what it might have been like.

I hope my questions aren't too impertinent.  Any information at all that I could get would be deeply appreciated.



Title: Re: An odd request
Post by: DarrylH on November 17, 2010, 10:46:59 AM

Yes, to be honest, it is a bit odd...but we honour those we lose in our own way.

I will give you some information but it can only be morbid or negative, given the result. So, for what it is worth.

1. The only slang term I have ever heard for Spitfire is "Spit" or "Spitty" but I can not be sure that either was used during WW2 let alone up to 1941.
2. there was no "ejection" seat in a Spitfire. One merely followed the proceedure as best (under circumstances) as one could. see this thread...

3. There could be  many, many reasons why his chute did not name a few (and forgive anything insensitive, you did ask, after all)
He was unconcious (as you have said) due to hitting the tail of the aircraft on his way out.
He was very badly wounded and passed out due to the strain of getting out of the aircraft (never easy at speed)
His chute was damaged and failed to open (he would have been sitting on it and often times the chute could be hit).
His chute wasn't packed properly (uncommon but certainly would have happened on occasion)

Or, less pleasant to think about:
He was too badly burned to pull the rip chord
He neglected to unclip his oxygen hose and/or RT leads from the cockpit fittings.....a universally a fatal error.

None of which I would be inclined to sing about but, as I said, we honour in our own way.

More happily you could base the song on the fact that the Spitfire was a delight to fly, the majority of it's pilots fell in love at first sight and that they were the cutting edge of their day.