There is an obituary in today’s Telegraph.co.uk that is fascinating. It is the story of Wing Commander Tim Fairhurst, who died on April 25th of this year. In the summer of 1942, Wing Commander Fairhurst flew one of three Spitfires fitted with cameras, but with their guns removed to allow extra fuel tanks to be installed, on a a top-secret mission in the Arctic to track down the German North Sea Fleet, which was known to be operating in the waters north of Norway. Their first destination was Vaenga, 170 miles inside the Arctic Circle.
According to the obituary:
“The RAF ground party met the Spitfires at Vaenga, where the RAF roundels on the aircraft were replaced with red stars. On September 10, Fairhurst took off on the first operational sortie and headed for the fjords of northern Norway with the prime object of locating the battleship Tirpitz. He photographed the capital ships Scheer and Hipper and the cruiser Koln, but the Tirpitz had been moved further south. Over the next few weeks, Fairhurst and his two pilots continued to keep track of the ships as the convoy PQ 18 headed for Murmansk. One of the Spitfires was shot down with the loss of its pilot.”
These are the stories of the greatest generation–the men who fought in World War II to preserve our freedom. Today we salute them all.