Post Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:45 pm

Spitfire MK-I..AZ-D of 234 Sq flown by Bob Doe.1940

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Bob Doe...D.S.O\ D.F.C & Bar
If there was a pilot who hid his light under a bushel, it was Bob Doe. Doe ended the Battle of Britain as the third most successful fighter pilot in the Battle, with 14 victories to his credit. His extraordinary modesty and reticent nature inevitably meant that his name is less well known than some of the stars of the Battle.
Doe struggled to meet the requirements of a pre-war pilot. Initially he lacked confidence. He disliked aerobatics.
His battle started on August 15th at Middle Wallop where he was flying a Spitfire on 234 Squadron.
He wrote later that, on his first operational flight, he was filled with dread. But the fear of being a coward overcame that of being killed. He pressed on. On this, his first trip, he managed to score a victory over a Me110 near Swanage.
On the following days he shot down several German aircraft including a Me109, a Ju88and a Do17. By the end of the month he had destroyed five enemy aircraft.
On September 4th, his Squadron intercepted a large group of Me109s. In the ensuing melee, Doe shot down no less than 3 of the German fighters. Still his record persisted.
A few days later he shot down several more enemy aircraft. The continuous fighting had, however, led to severe losses on the Squadron.
Having started with 15 pilots, there were only three of the original lot left by the middle of the month. Doe went on to join 238 Squadron as a Flight Commander. He managed to score several more victories before being shot down himself and being quite severely wounded. Parachuting from his stricken aircraft, he landed in a sewage plant which must, at least, have broken his fall.
Having recovered from his wounds, in January 1941, he was on a night flight, but suffered an engine failure. He succeeded in force landing his plane but he smashed his face when his harness broke. Doe had to endure a number of painful operations under the skilful surgeon Sir Harold Gillies. Having had his face rebuilt, he was rested.
However, subsequently he went out to India and formed a new squadron of the Indian Air Force. He flew as its Commanding Officer in the Burma campaign. For that he received the DSO, to add to his DFC and Bar.
Doe, the son of a gardener, had left school at the age 14, when he had appeared to be a somewhat sickly boy.
This extremely modest man ended up an outstanding leader of men and an amazingly brave and successful pilot. To top it all he was, apparently, a most agreeable character. He died in February 2010, at the age of 89.[info from battleofbritainblog.com]
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Bob's Spitfire living up to its Name.

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