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Wing Commander John Freeborn DFC* (deceased)|
Wing Commnader John. C. Freeborn was born on the 1st of December 1919 in Middleton, Yorkshire. John left grammar school at 16 and joined the RAF in 1938, where he made 14 shillings a week and shot pheasant in his spare time. He later visited his classmates after flight school by landing his plane on a nearby cricket pitch. In March 1938 John Freeborn was commissioned in the RAFO, and on the 9th of April 1938 went to Montrose and joined 8 FTS, where he completed his training before going to 74 "Tiger" Squadron at Hornchurch on 29th October. He relinquished his RAFO commission on being granted a short service one in the RAF in January 1939. Johnie Freeborn flew Spitfires with 74 Squadron over Dunkirk, and claimed a probable Ju 88 on May 21st 1940. On the 22nd of May 1940 he destroyed a Junkers 88, and a probable Bf 109 on the 24th of May followed soon after on the 27th by a Bf 109 destroyed and another probably destroyed. On one occasion his Spitfire was badly damaged over Dunkirk and he crash-landed on the beach near Calais but managed to get a lift home in a returning aircraft. His squadron flew relentlessly during the Battle of Britain. In one eight-hour period, its pilots flew into combat four times, destroying 23 enemy aircraft (three by John Freeborn) and damaging 14 more. Five kills denoted an Ace and by the end of the Battle of Britain, John had seven to his credit and won the DFC. John claimed a Bf 109 destroyed on 10th July, shared a probable Dornier 17 on the 24th, shot down a Bf 109 on the 28th, destroyed two Bf 110s, a Bf 109 and probably another on 11th August, destroyed a Do 17 on the 13th, destroyed another on 11th September and damaged an He 111 on the 14th. Freeborn was made a Flight Commander on 28th August. He shared a Bf 109 on 17th November, shot down two Bf 109s, shared another and damaged a fourth on 5th December, and damaged a Dornier 17 on 5th February and 4th March 1941. John Freeborn had been with his squadron longer, and flown more hours, than any other Battle of Britain pilot and on the 25th of February 1941 John freeborn was awarded a Bar to the DFC. In January, 1942 John Freeborn was posted to Army Air Force Base in Selma, Alababma which was home to the South East Training Command in America. After two months as RAF liaison officer he went to Eglin Field, Florida where he helped in testing various aircraft, including the new fighters the Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang. He returned to the UK in December 1942 and went to Harrowbear, Exeter, and then to Bolt Head as Station Commander. John Freeborn joined 602 Squadron in 1942, and commanded 118 Squadron in June 1943 at Coltishall, leading it until January 1944. In June 1944 he was promoted Wing Commander (the youngest Wing Commander in the RAF) of 286 Wing in Italy. John Freeborn scored 17 victories and left the Royal Air Force in 1946. Sadly, we have learned that John Freeborn passed away on 28th August 2010. John Freeborn was truly one of the great Fighter Pilots of world war two and his autograph is certainly a major additon to any signature collection, as he did not sign a great deal of art pieces.
View prints signed by this pilot
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Gerald Coulson has been painting
professionally for over 30 years. the Fine Art Guild have placed him
among the top ten best selling UK artists no less than 15 times in 12
years - 3 times at No. 1. Coulson's first love was aircraft,
studying them and drawing them at every opportunity, from an early
age. His apprenticeship as an aircraft engineer then as an RAF
Technician and later an engineer with British Airways, have allowed him an
insight and intimate knowledge of the aircraft he paints. Now a Vice
President, he is a founder member of the Guild of Aviation Artists and
four times winner of the Flight International Trophy for outstanding
aviation painting. He qualified for his pilots licence in 1960 and
is still actively flying today - mostly vintage aircraft and can often be
seen buzzing over the Fens of Cambridgeshire in a Tiger Moth.
Whatever the subject, whether aviation, landscape or portrait, his ability
to capture the realism and mood of the scene is unsurpassed, making him
one of the most collected and highly regarded artists in the world today.
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