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I was not quite airborne when a bomb burst on the airfield, ahead of me and to my left. 'Good, I've made it,' I thought. To this day I am not clear exactly what happened next; all I can remember is that a tremendous blast of air, carrying showers of earth, struck me in the face and the next moment thinking vaguely that I was upside down. What I do remember is the impact with the ground and a terrifying period of ploughing along the airfield upside down, still firmly strapped in the cockpit. Stones and dirt were thrown into my face and my helmet was torn by the stony ground against which my head was firmly pressed.

Finally the aircraft stopped its mad upside- down dash leaving me trapped in the cockpit, in almost total darkness, and breathing petrol fumes, the smell of which was overpowering. Bombs were still exploding outside, but this was not as frightening as the thought of fire from the petrol now seeping into the ground around my head. One spark and I would be engulfed in flames.

"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say - “This was their finest hour'"

WINSTON CHURCHILL

The immortal story told by one of the immortal few-the famous New Zealand fighter pilot who took part in the operations both at Dunkirk and in the Battle of Britain.

In continuous action from the outbreak of war until 1943, Alan Deere was one of those whose courage in the face of overwhelming odds assured their place in the gallery of fame. His official 'score' was:

Enemy aircraft destroyed 22 Probables 10 Damaged 18
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  • Seller location: Waitakere City, Auckland, NZ

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