Aviation Historian 27
R.Riding - Richard Riding's "Battle of Britain" photo gallery
Whose side are you on? Nearest the camera are three of the Hispano HA-1112 Buchons - essentially Merlin-powered Messerschmitt Bf 109s built under licence in Spain - used for filming, alongside a pair of Spitfires. The Buchons carry RAF camouflage and markings (note the underwing roundel on the nearest) as these three were used to make up the numbers during the memorable Polish Hurricane squadron training sequence.
Painted as “Red 4” for the filming, Buchon C4K-105/G-AWHH is seen here on the ramp at Bovingdon in October 1968. After more than four decades in the USA, G-AWHH returned to the UK in 2017 and is once again airworthy.
John “Tubby” Simpson of Simpsons Aeroservices Ltd, responsible for keeping the show airborne in terms of maintenance, poses for Richard’s camera beside Canadian-built Hurricane XII G-AWLW, one of only three airworthy Hurricanes available for filming. Sadly, it was destroyed in a museum fire in Canada in 1993.
Filming of the final flying sequences for Battle of Britain moved to Bovingdon when the production company’s arrangement to use Duxford as its main flying base came to an end in late September 1968. Spitfire Mk IA AR213/G-AIST is seen here as "N3311/AI-B", one of several spurious identities it wore during the making of the film.
Richard captured the purposeful essence of the Spitfire - even when on the ground - with this picture of Mk VC AR501 masquerading as “N3317/DO-H”, complete with Squadron Leader’s pennant beneath the windscreen.
Tracing exactly which Spitfire is which presents a challenge, as all examples used in the film, both static and airworthy, were painted with a finite set of spurious identities applied to most of the aircraft at different times. With a four-bladed propeller, six tubular exhaust stubs, four-aperture wheel-hubs and a small dipole aerial fitted to the underside of the rear fuselage, this is almost certainly Spitfire IX MH434 painted as “N3314/AI-E”.
One of a series of magnificent colour photographs taken by Richard Riding at Bovingdon during the making of the film Battle of Britain in November 1968.
To provide a convincing Luftwaffe bomber force for the film, the Ejercito del Aire (Spanish Air Force) made its entire complement of 32 CASA 2.111s (essentially Rolls-Royce Merlin-powered Heinkel He 111s licence-built in Spain) available. Two examples were bought by the production company, Spitfire Productions, and flown to the UK, where they were registered G-AWHA and ’WHB. Both are seen here at Bovingdon during filming.
Another example of Richard’s flair for dramatic composition, this glorious photograph of one of the two Spitfire Productions-owned CASA 2.111s highlights the deep intakes of the Merlin 500 engines, the smoke pots fitted to the exhaust stubs to create the impression of being on fire after an attack by one of "the Few", and the type’s distinctive glazed nose section.
Another spectacular colour photograph of one of the two CASA 2.111s acquired by the production company, taken as its starboard Merlin coughs into life. Both G-AWHA and ’WHB were painted in 1940-standard two-tone green splinter camouflage on the upper surfaces with pale blue undersides, as were all the bombers used in the film. Both also wore various codes, including 6J+PR, as seen here, so it is difficult to say with certainty which of the two this is!