Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Hawker Hurricane Mk I P3576 GN-A 249 Squadron,
P/O J B Nicolson, RAF Boscombe Down, 16th August 1940
Of the Victoria Crosses awarded to the Royal Air Force in the Second World War, Flt.Lt. James Nicolson was the sole recipient in Fighter Command. On 16 August 1940, the second day of the Luftwaffe offensive against the Command’s airfields in an attempt to destroy the fighter force, Nicolson was in action over the Southampton area when his “Red” flight, led by Sqn.Ldr. Eric King, attacked three Messerschmitt Bf 110s and were in turn attacked by three Bf 109s. The award citation said that Nicolson’s aircraft was hit by four cannon shells, one of which set his fuel tank alight and two wounded him, in the head and the foot. He was on the point of abandoning his aircraft because of the flames in the cockpit when he sighted an enemy fighter; this he attacked and shot down, is spite of his burns, before bailing out. The citation remarked his “courage and determination of a high order by continuing to engage the enemy after he had been wounded and his aircraft set on fire. He displayed exceptional gallantry and disregard for the safety of his own life” While coming down on their parachutes, he and his colleague were fired on by members of the Local Defence Volunteers, believing them to be German, and Nicolson was wounded again.
It took a while for Nicolson to recover from his injuries; during this period he broadcast on the BBC, saying that “shouting out loud when I first saw him ‘I’ll teach you some manners, you Hun’ “. Flying again, he was appointed CO of 1459 Flight in September 1941; based at Hunsdon this unit flew Bostons and “Turbinlite” Havocs in support of night fighter Hurricanes (and was the only such unit to be involved in the destruction of enemy aircraft). Posted to India, he was a staff office at Alipore, and in 1944 flew Beaufighters in Burma, for which work he was awarded the DFC. As a Wing Commander at the headquarters of the 3rd Tactical Air Force in Bengal, he flew as an observer on a Liberator on a raid on Rangoon on 2 May 1945; one of its engines caught fire two hours in to the flight, and the aircraft was ditched in the Bay of Bengal. There were only two survivors, and Nicolson’s body was never recovered.
Scale 1:144 Wingspan 3.3″ (84 mm)
Base size 4″ (100 mm) square (No. 2)
Weight not including base 1.25 ozs (40 grams) Limited edition of 25 only