"Dragon Rampant: The Story of No. 234 Fighter Squadron" (With foreword by Air Vice-Marshal R F Garwood CBE DFC MA RAF). "Dragon Rampant" is the story of a fighter squadron, No. 234, which had a fire breathing dragon for a centrepiece in its official crest. It began life with seaplanes operating from the Scilly Islands over the Western Approaches throughout the last year of WW1, after which it disbanded. However, when it was resurrected in 1939 it became a fighter squadron, and remained so throughout its life.No.234 Squadron earned its place in history during the Battle of Britain, its Spitfires said to have shot down more German aircraft in a single day, 4 September 1940, than any other Fighter Command squadron, with 'aces' such as Pat Hughes and Bob Doe standing out. Pure air defence of the UK then gave way to offensive sweeps over Western France, the squadron losing many aircraft in 1944, the year of the great invasion of the Continent, as it contributed to the successful outcome. In September 1944, 234 Squadron exchanged its Spitfires for Mustangs, enabling it to carry out ever deeper penetrations into Europe on offensive and escort operations.No.2 34 Squadron stood down at the end of WW2, only to be reactivated in Germany in 1951, as the Cold War evolved. Equipped first with Vampire fighter-bombers, F-86 Sabres and finally Hunter F4s, 234 remained in Germany until again disbanded in 1957. Within a year the Dragon came to life once more, as a war reserve squadron found from No.229 Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Chivenor, equipped with successive marks of the Hunter and flown by instructor pilots picked from the best on the front line squadrons. The squadron moved to RAF Brawdy as a Tactical Weapons Unit in 1984, re-equipped with the Hawk and later moved to RAF Valley until its disbandment in 1994.
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Nigel Walpole passed out from the Royal Air Force College Cranwell in 1954 and joined No.26 (Hunter Day Fighter Squadron) a year later at RAF Oldenburg in Germany. He remained in Germany for his second tour, flying Swift FR5s from RAF Gutersloh in the fighter reconnaissance role after which, in 1959, he was given an exchange posting to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, to fly tactical reconnaissance RF-101 Voodoos. On his return in 1961, to a ground tour with the Central Fighter Establishment, was promoted to squadron leader and given command first of No.234 (Hunter) Squadron at RAF Chivenor, then of No. II (AC) Squadron, flying the Hunter FR10 at Gutersloh. On promotion to wing commander in 1969 he served as Brigade Air Support Officer with No.16 Parachute Brigade. He commanded No.12 (Buccaneer strike/attack) Squadron for a short time at RAF Honington, and ended his flying career on Jaguars as OC Strike Wing, RAF Bruggen. He completed his service in the rank of group captain, as the Assistant Chief of Staff Offensive Operations, Second Allied Tactical Air Force, in Germany.On leaving the service Nigel Walpole became air weapons adviser to British Aerospace, before retiring with his wife to Suffolk. This is his fifth book on military aviation, all written solely for heritage and service charities.
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