A tale of immense bravery will feature in the next of our Sunday afternoon talks at The Wing, when Jim Nicolson gives a presentation on his uncle, James Nicolson VC, the only Fighter Command pilot to have been awarded the Victoria Cross in the whole of the Second World War.
On 16 August 1940, Nicolson’s Hurricane was damaged in a surprise attack by Bf109s over Southampton. He was wounded in his left foot and left with a perspex spllinter through his left eyelid, but as he prepared to bail out he saw a Bf 110 ahead of him.
Despite his injuries and the fact that his cockpit was by now a mass of flames, Nicolson slid back into his seat and fired at the enemy aircraft, despite being badly burned while doing so. He eventually abandoned the aircraft, parachuting to safety at 12,000 ft, but there was a further injury to come when he was shot at by the Home Guard and hit in the backside as he descended. He was presented with the VC by His Majesty The King at Buckingham Palace on 5 November.
Jim Nicolson retired as Assistant Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Police after a 30-year career which embraced such diverse events as the Watford rail crash and the Knebworth music festivals. He is a keen historian and regularly delivers talks about his uncle to all manner of groups
The following Sunday, 6 October, Wg Cdr Sophy Gardner MBE RAF (rtd) will talk on The RAF and Memorials.
Sophy, who has been granted access to the royal archives about the RAF Memorial and presented a paper at the National Maritime Museum, will talk about memorials after the First World War. She will explore the challenges facing the RAF and Royal Navy at a time when the focus was very much on the Army and the Western Front. Sophy is a Battle of Britain Memorial Trustee.
All the talks take place in the Geoffrey Page Centre at 2.30pm and booking is essential as space is limited. Ring 01303 249292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Hurricane members of Friends of the Few are entitled to free admission, Spitfire members pay just £5 and non-members pay £10. To join Friends of the Few click here.