RAF No 64 Squadron emblem
RAF No 64 Squadron

RAF No 64 Squadron Spitfire photographs

Aircrew RAF 64Sqn RNZAF WV Crawford Compton at Kenley Surrey IWM CH5064

Aircrew RAF 64Sqn RNZAF WV Crawford-Compton at Kenley Surrey IWM CH5064

Pilot Officer W V Crawford-Compton of No 485 (New Zealand) Squadron RAF, sitting in the cockpit of his Supermarine Spitfire Mark VB, "Samson", at Kenley, Surrey. At the time this photograph was taken, Crawford-Compton had shot down 3 enemy aircraft. He joined No. 611 Squadron RAF as a flight commander in August 1942, and in December 1942 was given the command of No. 64 Squadron RAF, which he led until July 1943. After promotion to Wing Commander Flying at Hornchurch he lectured on tactics in the USA, returning to operations in April 1944 in command of No. 145 (Free French) Wing of the 2nd Tactical Air Force. His final total was 21.5 victories and, having been awarded the DSO and Bar and DFC and Bar, he became the most highly-decorated New Zealand fighter pilot of the war.

Imperial War Museum IWM CH 5064 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210161

Hurricane Vb RAF 64Sqn SHZ BM476 and SHN at Hornchurch Essex IWM CH5756

Hurricane Vb RAF 64Sqn SHZ BM476 and SHN at Hornchurch Essex IWM CH5756

Spitfire Mark VBs of No. 64 Squadron RAF in revetments at Hornchurch, Essex. The nearest aircraft, (probably) BM476 SH-Z Atchashikar, was flown by the Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader W G G D Smith.

Imperial War Museum IWM CH 5756 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205126929

Spitfire IX RAF 64Sqn at Fairlop airfield in Essex IWM TR513

Spitfire IX RAF 64Sqn at Fairlop airfield in Essex IWM TR513

A Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX of No 64 Squadron, Royal Air Force undergoing an engine overhaul just outside a blister hangar on the north side of Fairlop airfield in Essex. The aircraft had been pushed outside the hangar for the photograph.

Imperial War Museum IWM TR 513 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205188365

Spitfire IX RAF 64Sqn at Fairlop airfield in Essex IWM TR514

Spitfire IX RAF 64Sqn at Fairlop airfield in Essex IWM TR514

A Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX of No 64 Squadron, Royal Air Force undergoing an engine overhaul just outside a blister hangar on the north side of Fairlop airfield in Essex. The aircraft had been pushed outside the hangar for the photograph.

Imperial War Museum IWM TR 514 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205188366

Spitfire IX RAF 64Sqn at Fairlop airfield in Essex IWM TR516

Spitfire IX RAF 64Sqn at Fairlop airfield in Essex IWM TR516

A Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX of No 64 Squadron, Royal Air Force undergoing an engine overhaul just outside a blister hangar on the north side of Fairlop airfield in Essex. The aircraft had been pushed outside the hangar for the photograph.

Imperial War Museum IWM TR 516 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205188369

Spitfire IX RAF 64Sqn SHA at Fairlop airfield in Essex 2 Nov 1942 IWM CH7730

Spitfire IX RAF 64Sqn SHA at Fairlop airfield in Essex 2 Nov 1942 IWM CH7730

A Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX of No 64 Squadron RAF, the first unit of Fighter Command to be equipped with the type, taxying before take-off at Fairlop, Essex, 2 November 1942.

Imperial War Museum IWM CH 7730 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210282

Spitfire IX RAF 64Sqn SHV BR600 at Fairlop airfield in Essex IWM TR517

Spitfire IX RAF 64Sqn SHV BR600 at Fairlop airfield in Essex IWM TR517

A few words from a fellow pilot before the engine-start of Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX, BR600 `SH-V', of No 64 Squadron, Royal Air Force at Fairlop airfield in Essex.

Imperial War Museum IWM TR 517 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205188370

Spitfire MkIa RAF 64Sqn SHW Roberts K9964 shot down Calais France 14th Aug 1940

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU103970

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU103970

Spitfire Mk I P9450 in flight, April 1940.

Imperial War Museum IWM HU 103970 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205224608

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU104743

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU104743

Spitfire Mk I P9450 in flight, April 1940.

Imperial War Museum IWM HU 104743 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205224609

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU104745

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU104745

Spitfire Mk I P9450 in flight, April 1940.

Imperial War Museum IWM HU 104745 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205224604

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU104746

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU104746

Spitfire Mk I P9450 in flight, April 1940.

Imperial War Museum IWM HU 104746 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205224605

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU104747

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU104747

Spitfire Mk I P9450 in flight, April 1940.

Imperial War Museum IWM HU 104747 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205224606

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU104748

Spitfire MkI factory fresh P9450 Apr 1940 later RAF 64Sqn IWM HU10474

Spitfire Mk I P9450 in flight, April 1940.

Imperial War Museum IWM HU 104748 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205224607

Spitfire MkI RAF 64Sqn at Kenley England 18th Aug 1940 01

Spitfire MkI RAF 64Sqn SHS scrambled at Kenley 15 Aug 1940 IWM HU54420

Spitfire MkI RAF 64Sqn scrambled at Kenley 15 Aug 1940 IWM HU54420

Pilot of No. 64 Squadron RAF running towards his Supermarine Spitfire Mark 1A as the Squadron is scrambled at Kenley, 10.45 am, 15 August 1940.

Imperial War Museum IWM HU 54420 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205059586

Spitfire MkVb RAF 64Sqn SHB at Hornchurch Essex IWM CH5753

Spitfire MkVb RAF 64Sqn SHQ AAxxx Normandy 1944 01

Spitfire MkVb RAF 64Sqn SHS SHV after landing at Hornchurch Essex May 1942 IWM CH5780

Spitfire Vb RAF 64Sqn JA Plagis and AJ Hancock at Hornchurch Essex IWM CH10464

Spitfire Vb RAF 64Sqn JA Plagis and AJ Hancock at Hornchurch Essex IWM CH10464

Flight Lieutenant J A Plagis and Flying Officer A J Hancock of No. 64 Squadron RAF, standing in front of a Supermarine Spitfire Mark V at Hornchurch, Essex. They had, between them, shot down 16 enemy aircraft in the air battles over Malta in 1941 and 1942.

Imperial War Museum IWM CH 10464 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210411

Spitfire Vc RAF 64Sqn AA873 at Boscombe Down Wiltshire IWM ATP9857B

Spitfire Vc RAF 64Sqn AA873 at Boscombe Down Wiltshire IWM ATP9857B

Spitfire Mark VC, AA873 Manchester Air Cadet, at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, shortly before conversion to a Mark IX. It subsequently served with No. 64 Squadron RAF.

Imperial War Museum IWM ATP 9857B https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205127142

Spitfire Vc RAF 64Sqn SHH at Hornchurch 7 May 1942 IWM CH5772

Spitfire Vc RAF 64Sqn SHH at Hornchurch 7 May 1942 IWM CH5772a

Spitfire Vc RAF 64Sqn SHH at Hornchurch 7 May 1942 IWM CH5772

This image is part of a sequence of five photographs taken on 7 May 1942 at Hornchurch, and later released by the Ministry of Information to illustrate a typical offensive operation. In the bright spring sunshine, a No 64 Squadron Spitfire VB is readied for another sortie.

Imperial War Museum IWM CH 5772 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205219409

Spitfire MkI RAF 64Sqn SH-K Plt Off James O'Meara P9554 Kenley, August 1940

Supermarine Spitfire RAF 64Sqn at Kenley, England August 18, 1940 01

Photo 01: Another of Rolf von Pebal's photographs taken from one of the low flying Do-l7s of 9./KG76 during the 18 August attack on Kenley in which the airfield was seriously damaged. In this view, a Spitfire of 64Sqn is seen parked unattended and exposed to attack in a blast pen on the northern edge of the airfield perimeter.

Spitfire MkI RAF 64Sqn SH-W P/O Roberts K9964 shot down Calais France 14th Aug 1940

Photo 01: well published photo of Spitfire MkI RAF 64Sqn SH-W P/O Roberts K9964 shot down Calais France 14th Aug 1940. Roberts became a POW and was most likely shot down by 1./JG26 pilot Eberhard Henrici for his second victory

Spitfire Mk Ia P9554 flown by Plt Off James O'Meara of No 64 Sqn, Kenley, August 1940. While flying P9554 on 12 and 15 August 1940 O'Meara destroyed three enemy planes, two Bf 109E's and a Ju 88 and further damaged three He 111s. By the end of the war he had achieved 11 and 2 shared destroyed, 1 unconfirmed destroyed. 4 probably destroyed, 11 damaged and 1 shared damaged. On 16 August the CO of No 64 Sqn Donald McDonald (9 destroyed, 1 shared destroyed, 3 unconfirmed destroyed, 1 probably destroyed and 7 damaged) flew this aircraft and claimed one Bf 109E destroyed another as a probable and a third as damaged and also claiming a shared destruction of a He 111 and another one damaged over Kent. When on his way back to Hawkinge McDonald was jumped by a 109 and was forced to bail out of P9554.

Spitfire Vb RAF 64Sqn SHB John Plagis ΒL829 at Hornchurch 4th Mar 1942

Spitfire VbLF RAF 64Sqn SHB John Plagis BL734 at Hornchurch 4th Mar 1942

Βοth of these Spitfires has confused many researchers and aviation enthusiasts for years. With the photos and information published in this book, the authors believe they have managed to solve the mystery. Plagis was posted to No. 64 Squadron on March 4, 1943, and began flying with his new squadron from April 6 onwards. Although he mostly flew SH-D/AA927, he was soon assigned a new fighter, Spitfire Mk.Vb SH-B/ΒL829. He flew it until the middle of September and it wore the usual 'KAY' along with his eleven Malta kills. This fighter was a standard Spitfire Mk.Vb with the elliptical ‘B’ wing. It was an early Mk.Vb, having the rectangular rear view mirror as well as an external armored windscreen. The aircraft did not carry the nose art on its starboard side. John didn't claim any kills on this aircraft. The last entry of his logbook listing BL829 is September 16, 1943. Fοur days later he flew SH-B again, according to his logbook, but this time BL734 was clearly written in the ORB of No. 64 Squadron. This time his new personal fighter is a Spitfire Mk.Vb LF/LR. On September 18, No. 64 Squadron exchanged their sixteen 'kites' with the ones of No. 118 Squadron. The latter unit was equipped with the Spitfire Mk.Vb LF/LR. This variant had reduced diameter supercharger impeller blades on the Merlin for optimum performance at lower altitudes and the wingtips were removed and replaced by short fairings to improve their rate of roll. The LF (Low altitude Fighter) designation referred to the engine performance and the LR (Long Range) to their ability to carry an external 'Slipper' fuel tank under the belly. Less than a dozen Spitfires were actually built as LF.Vs. These came in the very last batches of Mk.Vc Trop from Westland. All LF.Vbs, and virtually all LF.VCs were conversions from regular, often well worn, Mk.Vs. This led to them being referred to as clipped (the wings), cropped (the supercharger) and clapped (from the English expression ‘clapped out’ meaning extremely tired or worn out). The Spitfires were delivered with elliptical wingtips, although four of them, Plagis’ BL734 was almost certainly one of them, considering he was the A’ flight commander, had clipped wingtips. In the No. 64 ORB it’s recorded that, for an unknown reason, although pilots were happy with their new fighter’s performance, they hoped not to have to clip their wingtips, but instead return the four clipped aircraft to their full wingspan. Plagis flew BL734 from September 21, 1943, until June 17, 1944. While at the controls 'Johnny Spitfire' claimed three more kills which were later painted on the aircraft alongside ‘KAY’. Also, his and his squadron mates aircraft were later built Mk.Vbs as stated above, so were fitted with the circular rear view mirror and internal armored windscreen. All of the above clears any doubt about the famous ‘B’ he flew and often characterized as a Malta 'Spit' serialed as BR329, despite the fact that no record of BR329 ever operated over the island. The real BR329 was a Spitfire Mk.VI and was flown by No. 421 and 124 Squadrons, but it was lost with F/S Eric J. 'Chunky' Phelps.(Copyright Gaetan Marie)

Aircrew RAF 64Sqn John Plagis 1942

Plagis in front of a Spitfire Mk.IX. The Greek ace was very popular in the newspapers. One of them wrote, when he was awarded the DSO: NEW DSO HAS 'BAG' OF 16
"With a 'bag' of 16 German planes to his credit, Squadron Leader John A. Plagis, a 25-year-old Southern Rhodesian who was just added the DSO to his DFC and Bar, commands an RAF Spitfire Squadron. Joining the RAF in 1940, he was sent to Malta early in 1942 and flew his Spitfire from the aircraft carrier Eagle. He shot down four enemy aircraft in one afternoon, for which he was awarded the DFC. During his six months in Malta, he destroyed 11 aircraft and gained a Bar to the DFC. Another instance of Squadron Leader Plagis's good shooting was the destruction of three raiders within 24 hours. He led the first Spitfire sweep over Sicily, accounting for an Italian fighter. Since his return to Britain, he has been leading Spitfire formations against a variety of enemy targets and has destroyed three enemy fighters. Assuming command of his former Malta unit, he joined a Spitfire Wing led by the 24-year-old Wing Commander Harold Bird-Wilson, DFC, and Bar, of Farnham, youngest man in the RAF holding such an operational post."
(Greeksinforeigncockpits via Jill Plagis)
Plagis 2
John Plagis in the cockpit of SH¥B/BL734, before the end of his service with No. 64 Squadron. 'KAY' carries all the kills achieved by the Greek ace until that time, including the two he claimed with the squadron over France and Holland. The photo was taken around the middle of 1944 at RAF Coltishall with the ASR Walrus as the background (Greeksinforeigncockpits via Jill Plagis)
Plagis 3
John Plagis describes an engagement to S/L Michel 'Mike' G. L. Donnet, using his hands in the classic fighter pilot way. Donnet was a Belgian who escaped to England, using a Stampe SV-4B (Tiger Moth), OO-ATD when Belgium was occupied by the Germans. He volunteered for the RAF and managed to become a W.Cdr at RAF Hawkinge. When Plagis was posted to No. 64 Squadron, Donnet was in charge before being posted to take command of No. 350 (Belgian) Squadron. He had three kills to his credit, one probable kill and five damaged. He was honored with many British and Belgian medals. (Greeksinforeigncockpits via Jill Plagis)

John Agorastos Plagis was the highest scoring Greek pilot and ace of the World War 2 credited with 16 kills. He was the son of Agorastos Plagisos (later cut to Plagis for easy pronunciation) and Hellen Roseli, both from the Aegean island of Lemnos who emigrated in Hartley South Rhodesia. The truth is that none could write better about his career other than John Plagis himself. Taken from a letter he wrote:
"I was born off Greek Parents in Hartley on March 10th 1919. On the outbreak of Hostilities between Britain and Germany on September 3, 1939. I immediately volunteered my services to the Rhodesia Air Force, at the time my application was unacceptable, due to the fact that legally I was a Greek Subject owing to the fact that I was born off Greek parents, who were Greek Subjects and was born before the referendum of 1923 when Southern Rhodesia became an Independent Colony in the British Empire. I did not attain my Rhodesian Citizenship until after the War when the Citizenship Bill became amended in Parliament to deal with many Rhodesians who came under the same category as myself. Therefore, throughout the 1939/1945 Second World War l served as a Greek Subject in the Royal Air Force of Britain, Joined the R.A.F. in 1940 and completed training in Southern Rhodesia. Commenced operational flying from England during the tail end of the Battle of Britain and then went on to offensive sweeps over France, Holland, and Belgium etc., Volunteered for Malta in 1942 and was with the very first 16 Spitfires flown off the Aircraft Carrier H.M.S EAGLE from point X North of Algiers on March 6th, 1942 and immediately on arrival in Malta we went into action against the enemy. It was a matter of a few weeks before our 16 Spitfires were non-existent, most of our Pilots had been killed in action and almost all the aircrafts damaged or completely lost. We at all times fought the enemy with great odds against us In fact if four of us were airborne and we encountered twenty enemy fighters and bombers we considered it a reasonable fight. Have the distinction of having shot four enemy aircraft in ONE day on four separate flights on the afternoon of April lst 1942 in Malta, and on the last flight of the day there were four Spitfires and we intercepted and attached 180 Bombers escorted by 80 Fighters, the total against us was over two hundred and fifty Aircraft. Despite the odds, we attached the ensuing battle would take a vol¬ume to describe, I managed to destroy one J.U.88 Bomber and damage One M.E.109 Fighter. Making my score for the day 4 Aircrafts destroyed one damaged and one probably destroyed. On landing, at the base, my aircraft was badly damaged and I received superficial wounds.
His Majesty King George VI awarded me the IMMEDIATE DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS. abb.D.F.C., my Citation for this Decoration states:
" IT IS DIFFICULT TO SINGLE OUT ONE FIGHTER PILOT AND MAKE COMPARISONS BUT BECAUSE PILOT OFFICER PLAGIS SHOT DOWN FOUR ENEMY AIRCRAFT, HE IS WORTHY OF SPECIAL MENTION. HE FLIES A SPITFIRE AND WITH IT HE IS DEVASTATING."
and the message received from His Majesty and herewith is an exact extract from the Malta Times:
HIS MAJESTY THE KING HAS BEEN GRACIOUSLY PLEASED TO AWARD THE FOLLOWING DECORATIONS TO THE MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE.THESE MEN HAVE PERFORMED ACTS OF BRAVERY AND SKILL WHILST BASED AT MALTA. BY THEIR UNFLINCHING DEVOTION TO DUTY THEIR NAMES WILL FOREVER BE INSCRIBED IN THE HISTORY OF THE INDOMITABLE ISLAND FORTRESS.
On June 6th, 1942 on one of the many defensive sorties, I was leading four Spitfires when we encountered about forty enemy aircraft. I lead my section into the attack and in the ensuing battle I destroy¬ed two enemy aircraft and our section joined in the destruction of a Flying Boat. On June 26th 1 was awarded the - IMMEDIATE BAR TO THE DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS. my Citation stated:
"FLIGHT LIEUTENANT PLAGIS HAS DESTROYED TEN AIRCRAFT. PROBABLY DESTROYED TWO AND DAMAGED FOUR SINCE HIS ARRIVAL IN MALTA. ON JUNE THE 6TH IN ONE COMBAT HE DESTROYED TWO ENEMY AIR¬CRAFT 40 MILES EAST OF MALTA. DURING THIS ENGAGEMENT HE LEAD HIS SECTION IN FOUR SPITFIRES INTO SUPERIOR NUMBERS WITHOUT HESITATION. HIS EXAMPLE AND COURAGE HAVE BEEN UNSURPASSED AT ALL TIMES."
Left Malta in August and prior to leaving was presented with an inscribed plaque from the Hellenic Community of Malta in appreciation of my Services. This Plaque was lost in transit on Submarine H.M.S. TORTOISE from Malta to U.K. My score on leaving Malta was:
11 Enemy Aircraft destroyed.
2 Enemy Aircraft probably destroyed.
5 Enemy Aircraft damaged.
Proceeded to England where due to the exceptionally heavy Flack concentrated in this area and the absolute necessity for us to give close escort to heavy Aircraft dropping supplies in the area. I escorted the Stirling Bomber that dropped the Medical Supplies in the last days of Arnhem and whose Pilot received the posthumous award of the highest decoration in the field of Battle THE VICTORIA CROSS. Queen Wilhelmina of Holland awarded me the NEDERLANDS DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS for my services to the Allied Cause. The Mysore Medal was also awarded to me by the Maharaja of Mysore for my Services. I was made a WING COMMANDER in November 1944 and had command of three veteran Squadrons and led them on the Homeland of Germany on practically every escorted daylight Bomber Raid that took place until the end of World War II. Participated in the Destruction of the Gestapo H.Q. at Shellmex House on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Was sent back to Rhodesia in May 1945 where I commanded R.A.F. KUMALO and had under my Command the Hellenic Contingent in Rhodesia. On my return, I was given a Civic reception and also one by the Government. At the personal request of Lord Tedder I went back to England and flew Meteor jet Aircraft for over three years, and during the last year of my service, I was specially selected to give exhibition aerobatics to various foreign delegations in many centers of Europe. I obtained my discharge from the RAF in May 1948 and have since been in business in Salisbury. The City of Salisbury decided to perpetuate my name and named an avenue JOHN PLAGIS AVENUE in the most select residential area of Salisbury. I am in the process of completing my new home there, and with Gods blessing, I hope to create a precedent in being the first person to live in an Avenue that has been named after him. I am humbly and singularly proud of the fact that I am the first Rhodesia born Greek that has had an Avenue named after him in this Country."
Apart from the above medals John Plagis also awarded the DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER - DSO and numerous other awards. He was also credited with 5 more enemy aircraft destroyed and 1 damaged while flying over North West Europe. Sadly, the greatest Greek pilot of them all committed a suicide on August 27, 1975, leaving behind his wife and his four children.
Further details can be found on Volume B' of 'GREEKS IN FOREIGN COCKPITS'

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    Magazine References: +

  • Airfix Magazines (English) - http://www.airfix.com/
  • Avions (French) - http://www.aerostories.org/~aerobiblio/rubrique10.html
  • FlyPast (English) - http://www.flypast.com/
  • Flugzeug Publikations GmbH (German) - http://vdmedien.com/flugzeug-publikations-gmbh-hersteller_verlag-vdm-heinz-nickel-33.html
  • Flugzeug Classic (German) - http://www.flugzeugclassic.de/
  • Klassiker (German) - http://shop.flugrevue.de/abo/klassiker-der-luftfahrt
  • Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://boutique.editions-lariviere.fr/site/abonnement-le-fana-de-l-aviation-626-4-6.html
  • Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://www.pdfmagazines.org/tags/Le+Fana+De+L+Aviation/
  • Osprey (English) - http://www.ospreypublishing.com/
  • Revi Magazines (Czech) - http://www.revi.cz/

    Web References: +

  • History of RAF Organisation: http://www.rafweb.org
  • History of RAAF: http://www.airpages.ru/eng/ot/raaf_01.shtml
  • Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/

 

This webpage was updated 6th June 2021