Hobby Master HA7854 RAAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb Fighter - AB972/UD-W, Flight Leader Brendan "Paddy" Finucane, No.452 Squadron, RAF Kenley, England, October 1941 (1:48 Scale)
"Mundus Pro Nobis" ("People Pray for Us")
- Motto of No.452 Squadron
The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.
Supermarine designer Reginald Mitchell created this small, graceful, elliptical-wing fighter with eight guns in the wings that were able to fire without being hindered by the propeller. The immortal Spitfire thus became not merely one of the best-performing fighters of all time, but also one of the best-looking. Although never employed as a long-range escort, the Spitfire was a champion in an air-to-air duel. Spitfires routinely dived at the speed of sound, faster than any of the German jets.
A carrier-based version, called the Seafire, was a winner in its own right, serving valiantly on convoy routes during World War II. The Seafire 47 was even used in the early stages of the Korean War, before it was replaced by more modern jet aircraft.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb fighter that was piloted by Flight Leader Brendan "Paddy" Finucane, who was attached to No.452 Squadron, then deployed to RAF Kenley, England, during October 1941.
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Historical Account: "Early Troubles" - Wing Commander Brendan Eamonn Fergus Finucane, DSO, DFC & Two Bars (October 16th, 1920 - July 15th, 1942), known as Paddy Finucane amongst his colleagues, was a Second World War Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter pilot and flying ace - defined as an aviator credited with five or more enemy aircraft destroyed in aerial combat.
Born into a Catholic family in Ireland of Irish and English heritage, Finucane grew up during the "early troubles" and the Irish Civil War. In 1936, the family moved to England, where he developed an interest in aviation. Keen to fly, Finucane applied to join the RAF and in August 1938, was accepted for flight training as a pilot. After a shaky training career, in which he crash-landed on one occasion, he received news that he had completed flight training. In June-July 1940, he began conversion training on the Supermarine Spitfire. On July 13th, Finucane was posted to No.65 Squadron at RAF Hornchurch.
Finucane's first victory was scored on August 12th, 1940, during the Battle of Britain. During the campaign, he was credited with two enemies destroyed, two probably destroyed and one damaged. Promoted to acting flight lieutenant in April 1941, he joined No.452 Squadron flying offensive patrols over France - known as the Circus offensive. During this period, Finucane had his most successful period of operations, destroying 20 German aircraft, sharing in the destruction of three, with two damaged and another two probably destroyed from January 4th to October 13th, 1941.
In January 1942, Finucane was promoted to the rank of squadron leader in No.602 Squadron. Within six months, he was credited a further six individual victories bringing his tally to 28. Four more were damaged, four were shared destroyed and two credited as individual probable victories and one shared probable. In June 1942, he became the RAF's youngest wing commander in its history. Finucane was appointed to lead the Hornchurch Wing.
On July 15th, 1942, Finucane took off with his flight for a mission over France. His Spitfire was damaged by ground-fire. Finucane attempted to fly back to England across the English Channel but was forced to ditch into the sea and subsequently vanished. After his death, Finucane's brother Raymond served in No.101 Squadron RAF and survived the war.
Finucane was credited with 28 aerial victories, five probably destroyed, six shared destroyed, one shared probable victory, and eight damaged. Included in his total were 23 Messerschmitt Bf 109s, four Focke-Wulf Fw 190s and one Messerschmitt Bf 110. Official records differ over the exact total. After the war, two of Finucane's victories that were credited as probables had, in fact, been destroyed, but were not officially included. His total victory count could be as high as 32. Some sources credit him this figure.