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THE VICTORY CROSS AWARDED IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

THE VICTORY CROSS AWARDED IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Posted by Airspotters on 16th Mar 2024

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THE HISTORY The heroic actions of Fighter Command's few during the Battle of Britain are the stuff of legend and it is rather surprising that only one pilot was awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest military award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, during this significant period in British history. Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson was attacking a large number of Bf 110 fighters above Southampton, when his Hurricane Mk.I (P3576) began taking hits from behind - Messerschmitt Bf 109s flying top cover had surprised the British fighters, which were now in mortal danger. Suffering injury and with his aircraft starting to burn, Nicolson was in the process of bailing out when he noticed one of the Bf 110 destroyers passing right in front of his stricken aircraft. Climbing back into the burning cockpit of his Hurricane, he fired his guns into the Luftwaffe fighter, until the intense heat forced him to jump out of his aircraft. Suffering severe burns to his hands and a number of other wounds, Nicolson managed to parachute to safety and was immediately rushed to Southampton Hospital, by members of the Home Guard. James Nicolson returned to flight operations in September 1941, after recovering from his injuries. To mark the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2015, the RAF painted one of their Eurofighter Typhoons in the colours of Nicolson's Hurricane, which became one of the stars of the Airshow circuit and a popular release in the Aviation Archive series.