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Details about  SC30 RAF WW2 Spitfire cover signed Battle of Britain HILKEN 74 Sqn

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SC30 RAF WW2 Spitfire cover signed Battle of Britain HILKEN 74 Sqn
Item Ended
Item condition:
--not specified
16 Sep, 2014 21:49:07 BST
£6.50 Express Delivery | See details
Item location:
Croydon, United Kingdom


eBay item number:
Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing.
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RAF Uxbridge Spitfire cover signed Warrant Officer Clive Geoffrey Hilken AE

Cover depicts a Supermarine Spitfire KL-B of 54 Squadron RAF Hornchurch was was flown by Flight Lieutenant A C Deere DFC. Cover bears Station Badge of RAF Uxbridge and was produced for the 31st Anniversary of the Battle of Britain 18 September 1971. Cover bears 3p 50th Anniversary of British Legion stamp cancelled with BFPS 1172 on 18th September 1971 with Battle of Britain 1940 Postmark. Cover has been flown from RAF Coltishall to RAF Leuchars in the 1971 Battle of Britain display at RAF Leuchars and then from Leuchars to Coltishall by Flight Lieutenenant Jewel. Cover has been signed by Air Commodore James Leathart. Cover has been backstamped with 11 Group Operations Room cachet and was also flown from RAF Coltishall in Spitfire PM631 over Alconbury, Duxford, Hornchurch and North Weald. 

Cover is signed by 

Warrant Officer Clive Geoffrey Hilken AE
Fighter Command Battle of Britain Spitfire Pilot

Hilken was born on the 14 September 1919 in Hull.  After leaving school he went to work with Lloyds Bank in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire when he volunteered to joined the RAFVR in 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot.  After leaning to fly in Tiger Moths and Masters he was called up on 1 September. After completing his flying training at 5 FTS having flown Hurricanes and surviving a forced-landing, he went to 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge, where he converted to Spitfires.
On 21 August 1940 Hilken was posted to Wittering to join 74 Squadron, only to find that it had moved to Kirton-in-Lindsey, where he caught up with it. He went with the Squadron to RAF Coltishall, then in mid-October 74 went to Biggin Hill.  On the 20 October Hilken was shot down by Bf 109s over South London. He managed to bale out, wounded, and was admitted to Orpington Hospital. His Spitfire, P 7426, crashed at Cowden.
After the Battle of Britain the Squadron moved to Manston and on the 21 April 1941, while flying an evening patrol he was caught by two Bf 109s who shot him down.  He was forced to bale out for a second time and landed in a cabbage patch, on an allotment near Deal.  On 27 June 1941 after completing two sorties, he took off in the evening to escort bombers into Northern France, his No 2 had aircraft difficulties and did not take off leaving Hilken at the rear of the vic formation.  With the sun behind them Hilken’s aircraft, Spitfire W 3252, was the first to be attacked by enemy fighters and his aircraft lost height rapid and he was forced to bale out over St Omer.  Tragically, 74 Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Mungo Park was shot down and killed during the same combat. 
After baling out for a third time, his parachute failed to work properly, but he managed to make a safe landing, despite have been hit in the ankle and suffering other minor injuries.  On the ground French farmers tried to aid his escape by carrying him to their truck, but upon reaching the vehicle the German Soldiers demanded that he be handed over.  Having been captured, Hilken spent a week at a French Hospital at Lille, before being moved to a specialist hospital in Brussels where he remained for six months.  After being released from hospital he was transferred to a POW camp south of Czechoslovakia, and remained captive for the rest of the war, eventually freed in May 1945.  He was taken to Brussels from which he was flown in a Lancaster back to the UK and was released from the RAF later in the year, as a Warrant Officer.
Hilken then took the chance to take a one year teaching course at Bromsgrove, near Birmingham and went on to become a secondary teacher in Hull.  In March 1949 Hilken was commissioned in the RAFVR.  Having learnt to speak German while a POW he went aboard to Germany to teach RAF Schools, and eventually became a Headmaster.  After 13 years overseas he returned to the UK to teach and went on to become Headmaster once again before retiring.

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