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Air Commodore Ricky Wright CBE DFC DFM (deceased)|
605 Sqn Battle of Britain, Officer Commanding 54(F) Sqn Vampire 1948-1949. Eric William Wright was born on September 21st 1919 at Cherry Hinton, Cambridge, and went to the Cambridge County School and the Technical College. Wright joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in June 1939 and was called up when he had completed his training as a pilot. As a sergeant pilot Wright flew Hurricanes over south-east England during the Battle of Britain; Wright joined No 605 (County of Warwick) Squadron in July 1940, a few days before it left its Scottish base for Croydon. He saw a great deal of action during the summer of 1940, and in the early days of September he shared in the destruction of a Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter and a Dornier 17 bomber. On September 15, the climax of the Battle, and a day commemorated as Battle of Britain Day, Wright shot down a Dornier 17 over Maidstone and by the end of the year he had accounted for six enemy aircraft, probably destroyed three more and damaged a further six. At the end of November he was awarded an immediate DFM. Wright was made a flight commander of No.232 Squadron in 1941 and went to India. After the Japanese attacks on Malaya the squadron embarked on the aircraft carrier Indomitable, flying off to Java at the end of January 1942 en route to reinforce the beleaguered squadrons at Singapore. Within a week Wright's CO had been killed and Wright was promoted to squadron leader. He damaged a Japanese bomber off the west coast of Singapore, but 232 was soon forced to evacuate to Sumatra. Wright was made CO of a composite squadron made up of the remaining Hurricanes. They were hopelessly outnumbered, and losses mounted. With only a few aircraft left, on March 1st 1942 Wright was ordered to pass his remaining Hurricanes to a group selected to stay behind and take his remaining pilots to Tjilatjap, on the south coast, from where they were to board a boat for Australia. Two Ford V8s were commandeered, and the party drove through the jungle at night, only to find that the last boat had been sunk. In vain they searched along the coast for other craft. A few days later the island fell to the Japanese, and Wright and his pilots were captured and spent more than three years in Japanese prison camps. After the war Wright was repatriated back to the UK via Guam and the US finally returning to England onboard the liner Queen Mary. Wright resumed his career as a fighter pilot flying the early jets and was a member of the RAFs official aerobatic team, No.247 Squadron, flying Vampires. In April 1948 he flew one of the six single-engine Vampire F3s of No.54 Squadron which made the first Atlantic crossing by jet aircraft. On returning back the the UK, Wright was appointed to command No 54. After spending a year at the Central Fighter Establishment Wright was appointed wing leader at Linton-on-Ouse with command of three fighter squadrons. In late 1956 he converted to the Hunter and took the Tangmere Wing to Cyprus for the Suez operations. He was then given command of the RAFs first Bloodhound ground-to-air missile squadron. In 1960 he was promoted to group captain and spent three years at Headquarters Fighter Command, where he was heavily involved in the introduction into service of the supersonic Lightning fighter. Wright was appointed CBE in 1964. He also received a Kings Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air and the Air Efficiency Award. Air Commodore Ricky Wright CBE DFC DFM retired form the Royal Air Force in 1973. Sadly Air Commodore Ricky Wright passed away on the 5th of November 2007 aged 88.
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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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