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Thanks Chris. 
 

they were I’d a different generation, that is for sure. The magazine work I did meant I got to meet quite a few. A real privilege and only one I really didn’t like!

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Chatting to Jon, or Biggles 87 Yesterday we spoke about the Spitfire (Neville’s of course) looking a different scale to the Hunter so I nipped upstairs to the ‘will you clean me’ room to take these.

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I know I’ve not painted the exhausts on the Spitfire but, I think they look about right when photographed differently to above. I would have used my Nikon but it needs an overhaul and, as with many digital cameras, the overhaul costs more than the peanuts the camera is now worth.

 

whilst upstairs I also grabbed these. As you may know I did the ‘Flying Visit’ series in Aeroplane for 11 years and I chased Neville for some time. Here are two letters, just over a year apart. They are going to get framed together and added to my collection.

 

Firstly, polite and formal

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speaking to him at Popham he’s said ‘give me a year’, so..... a little later and by this time we know each other a little better. The tongue in cheek ‘can’t find another excuse’ still makes me smile and I like his reference to Diana Banarto Walker.

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I still have his hand typed answers to the visit questions, and a letter with a couple of corrections. Fantastic stuff to have.

 

Really my aviation hero.

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I have a friend here in France who’s father worked at Langley and then Dunsfold and he was always ‘ Uncle Neville ‘ to him. I’ve never heard an unkind word said about him, one of my hero’s also, along with Pete Brothers who I was lucky enough to talk to at Duxford once.

 

John

PS I also remember the ‘Flying Visit ‘ series in Aerplane.

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Thanks John. I agree with what you sat about no one having a bad word about Neville and also Pete Brothers.

 

i was not lucky enough to get Pete for FV, which could be tough to do. I needed to have a balance of pilot types and eras and it was often a day or so to go before deadline before I got someone. Tracking them down was my job and pre-internet was highly skilled work! Mick, the Aeroplane Head Hitter, and one of my best friends ever and 50% of the best men at our wedding was a great help, as was Dick Richardson at Popham, who held the Test Pilot lunch every year.

 

I was late leaving the get to Dave Morgan, The ex-Supermarine Pilot, who was in Buckfastleigh in Devon and I lived in Basingstoke, when I got there we were chatting and he asked me how the trip down was, I told him I’d been late and made it to his in under three hours. (Old BMW 320i and no speed cameras) he said ‘you must have been shifting!’ and then laughed like a drain when I told him I’d had to start slowing down at Honiton. Geoff Worrall, from Gloster and I met up at Kemble and being a flash git I flew over in the Rearwin. After the interview I asked him if he wanted a go and he looked like a ten year old kid when he said ‘I was rather hoping you’d ask!’.

 

Eric Brown, who I’d been warned did not suffer fools and could be a bit abrasive, was an absolute gentleman, great fun and at the end of the interview asked ‘would you like to join me for a wee sherry’. 
 

At one point, to balance things, I needed someone who had flown a lot in the fifties on things like Shackletons And I chanced across an answer on the Key forum (I had internet by then) and spoke to a nice chap called a Tim Elkington who had, indeed flown shacks. What I hadn’t realised was that he was ex- BofB and we were speaking 70 years TO THE SECOND since he’d been shot down in his Hurricane over Wittering, near Chichester, and he told me that his mother had actually seen it! Now, there’s a subject for a Hurricane model, I do like a link to the models I do.

 

oh look at the time. There will be more stories about FV I am sure but I have a busy day waiting for Fantasy Printshop to make the serials for the Hunter! (Or anyone else for that matter)

 

and just as a final, re FV, there is not a hole deep enough to bury (in my opinion) the one pilot I learned to hate in short order (and that is not CY, I wouldn’t have done him but a DR) - you can work it out, or ask me privately.

 

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  • 2 months later...

Update. 
 

the Hunter build nearly outlived me! 
 

i am still waiting for 1/32 white serials but meanwhile spent a few days in intensive care through Sepsis. Luckily I don’t remember a lot about it, but poor Mrs H was called in twice. Not nice. That was about a month ago and all a blur. 

 

Recovering slowly and getting the guitar book finished, as it is too close to leave, and then should be able to get back to modelling soon. The WNW DVII was going well and I was about to start drawing masks for my SPAD, the DVII and, of course, I could do the Hunter.
 

The worst bit now is the fatigue. The infection obviously took it out of me as it came pretty close (Blood pressure at one point of 5) so shedding that is har enough but the painkillers and antibiotics are all hard work.

 

but,

 

I am alive and therefore consider myself very fortunate. The modelling can wait as there are a lot of people who are in much worse condition than me.

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Thanks for the comments.

 

i don’t have a lot of memory about it, which is good, but I do remember on night’s disturbed sleep trying to work out how I am going to be able to mask the DVII Fuselage with the lozenge and the stripes. 
 

mostly it was really boring with horrid food and quite a lot of pain. 
 

since I have been home (just over two weeks) I’ve been resting, well, not running up and down stairs to make models, and getting the hated index done on the guitar book, which has progressed in my absence with help from some fantastic people who were not only there for me, but for Caroline. 
 

once again, I got saved by the good people from the acute oncology ward at Queen Alexandra Hospital and being lucky that we got me here in time.

 

So, the Hunter is done save for the serials, the Spitfire just weathering, the DVII is waiting for me to work out which order to finish it in (and to try and fin the Lo! Marking) and my SPAD needs upper wing roundels (pigmented dope not paint like the lower wing, so the white section is cdl.), the correct CHD badge for Dolan and a possible serial. 
 

and I need to get fitter 

 

thanks again for the nice words

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