Pilot Portraits

Related to this print

Wing Commander Thomas F. Neil, The First of Four on the Fifteenth


Print ID: A32


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Pilot Officer Tom Neil of No.249 Squadron in combat over London on Sunday 15th September 1940. Two of the stricken Dornier's crew narrowly missed Tom's Hurricane as they baled out over the Thames. The aircraft was from 5/KG3, the leader of the formation, and carried the commander of the 5th Staffel, Hauptmann Ernst Puettman.

Signed by

  • Wing Commander Thomas F. Neil, DFC & Bar, AFC, AE

Please note: each print is individually hand-signed. Signatures are not reproductions.

Thomas Francis "Ginger" Neil joined the RAFVR in 1938 at the age of 18. Called up at the outbreak of war, he was posted to No.249 Squadron in May 1940 where he flew Hurricanes. During the Battle of Britain his first victory was on 7th September, closely followed by a second on 11th September, 3.5 more on 27th September, and another on 6th October. On 8th October he was awarded the DFC, and as his success continued, on 26th November he received a Bar to his DFC.

In May 1941, No.249 Squadron were posted to Malta, flying in from HMS Ark Royal. The Squadron saw almost daily action. Neil claimed another victory in June.

In December 1941, Neil was transferred and eventually became liaison officer to the US 9th Air Force's 100th Fighter Wing. He retired from the RAF in 1964 having reached the rank of Wing Commander. He has written a number of books and articles about his wartime experiences.

Please note: the word "SPECIMEN" is not present on the actual print