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The Spitfire was A Poor Night Fighter

Heroes Remember

The Spitfire was A Poor Night Fighter

Only three Spitfire squadrons were trained to fly at night. At the same we did daytime flying. But the Spitfire was a terrible airplane to fly at night. The flames from the exhaust, you'd sit around with dark glasses on, go out to the airplane, start up, taxi out. You'd have, I won't say good night vision, but some night vision. You'd open the throttle, the flames would just come back and all your night vision was lost. Then you'd fly around, up in that sky why it wasn't too bad because you'd throttle back and it was just little blue lights, sort of wasn't too bad. But you'd come in to land and it's awkward to land a Spitfire anyhow because the nose is so big and high. She comes up. And you'd throttle back and it would would go pop, pop, pop and all the flames would shoot out and you would lose all your night vision again. It was just a terrible airplane for night flying.

Mr. Warren is in one of three squadrons trained for night fighting. He describes being nearly blinded by flames from his Spitfire's exhaust ports, which made takeoff and landing very difficult.

Douglas Warren

Douglas Warren was born on May 28, 1922 in Nanton, Alberta. His father, a farmer, was an isolationist emigrant from the United States. One of four children, Mr. Warren had an identical twin brother with whom he was very close. They had always wanted to fly, and enlisted in the Air Force in 1940. Mr. Warren completed his pilot training in High River, Alberta. Once overseas, he joined #165 Spitfire Squadron in Ayr, Scotland, and was involved in the air battle during the Dieppe Raid, as well as later flying cover on bombing raids. He then joined #66 Squadron at Falaise, France, flying the new SpitfireMK9B in ground attack operations. Mr. Warren was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, Mr. Warren's exemplary career continued after permanently joining the RCAF. He became Fighter Leader for Canada's Meteor Jet Squadron, served in the Korean War, was a NATO pilot instructor in Germany, and served time with NORAD. Mr. Warren eventually became Assistant Base Commander at Comox from where he retired with the rank of Wing Commander.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 7, 1999
Person Interviewed:
Douglas Warren
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Western Europe
Air Force
166 Squadron
Wing Commander

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