‘Home is the hunter….’
A section of Spitfires, sortie complete, swings over ‘home’, in this case an English Manor house, taken over as Mess accommodation during the height of WW2. The base would be located nearby and a low pass on to the approach ensures that the Mess staff have the tea freshly prepared and the bar declared open - OK, forget the tea. Probably rattled the windows and tinkled the chandeliers as well!
It was not unusual for such ‘homes’ to be taken over as military establishments and many Squadrons, US as well as RAF, enjoyed such superlative accommodation. Typical in this respect was Petwood House, in Lincolnshire, the home Mess of 617 Squadron - the ‘Dam Busters’ - the house today is a very fine hotel with the bar dedicated to 617 memorabilia, well worth a visit.
Also, it was not unusual for Squadrons, (145 Polish) in this case, to have a mix of Spitfire Mks in their inventory, some squadron commanders hanging on to older Mks as their personal favourites. The attachment of fighter pilots to their steeds is so well described in ‘The Big Show’ by Pierre Clostermann - one of the finest personal histories to come out of WW2.
As always the image is a composite of aircraft photographs from Duxford airshows and background scenery from the archives.