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Battle of Britain Spitfire Relic

Article about: This relic .303 Browning is from Supermarine Spitfire X4278 ZD-D of 222 Sqn Hornchurch, shot down by Bf109s on the 4th September 1940. Crashing at Amberfield Farm, Chart Sutton, Kent. The pi

  1. #1

    Default Battle of Britain Spitfire Relic

    This relic .303 Browning is from Supermarine Spitfire X4278 ZD-D of 222 Sqn Hornchurch, shot down by Bf109s on the 4th September 1940. Crashing at Amberfield Farm, Chart Sutton, Kent. The pilot, Flying Officer John Cutts was sadly killed in action.
    I have collected several interesting Battle of Britain relics over the years, but this has to be the most poignant as it clearly shows the damage caused by the impact with the blast tube and cooling jacket severely crushed back.
    Of further interest is the picture taken at Hornchurch on the 1st of September which shows this very aircraft X4278 ZD-D in the foreground three days before it was shot down.
    Posted in tribute to a brave pilot and Battle of Britain Hero..
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Battle of Britain Spitfire Relic

    Very nice display, thanks for sharing and welcome!...
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.



    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  4. #3

    Default Re: Battle of Britain Spitfire Relic

    Agreed - really nice when not only can a relic be attributed, but a photo of the aircraft can be found ..... brings the item/s to life!!!!!

    Cheers, Dan
    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

  5. #4

    Default Re: Battle of Britain Spitfire Relic

    Nice one Jonny ! Welcome to the forum

    Looking forward to seeing more

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  6. #5

    Default Re: Battle of Britain Spitfire Relic

    Thanks for the kind welcome and interest guys

  7. #6

    Default Re: Battle of Britain Spitfire Relic

    Hi Jonny,

    Thanks for posting this thread about this brave pilot, I have known of his part in the battle and the mystery of his missing in action description in Air Ministry records for 59 years, since I was a boy back in the late 70's. Here's a brief history of him.

    Flying Officer John Wintringham Cutts was serving with 222 Sqn at Kirton-in-Lindsey when the Battle of Britain began, flying endless convoy patrols as most East coast squadrons were tasked to do. On the 29th of August, 19 Spitfires led by Squadron Leader John Hill flew south to Sector 'D', Hornchurch to relieve the almost obliterated Defiants of 264 Sqn. Shortly after noon the following day, 'B' flight was patrolling over Gravesend when 10 Bf 109's dived through their formation damaging 1 Spitfire and quickly disappeared before anything could be done.

    On the same day in a later patrol, F/O Cutts attacked a Heinkel He 111 over Billericay without result, bringing his damaged aircraft back to Hornchurch. In 5 consecutive days 222 had lost 8 Spitfires , with 1 pilot dead and 6 wounded or burned.

    Wednesday the 4th of September was a warm day of fine weather with a heat haze obscuring the estuary. Around lunchtime 222 were scrambled to intercept successive waves of bombers crossing the coast between Dover and Beachy Head. In a violent encounter over Maidstone, John Cutts was shot down by Bf 109's and his aircraft crashed at Ambersfield Farm, Chart Sutton, where it burned out. Cutts was listed as missing in action, and 32 years later in 1972 the complete remains of the wreckage were unearthed by an aircraft archaeological group, but no remains of the pilot were found. In 1999 a careful study of records discovered that the body of an unknown airman had been recovered from Amberley (sic) Farm on the 14th of September, and buried at Sittingbourne on the 28th of that month. Circumstantial evidence was sufficient enough for a new headstone to be erected over the grave by the CWGC bearing the name of John Cutts. See pic below.

    The above photo of Cutts' aircraft at Hornchurch has some other interesting points of interest in it. The next aircraft along is a 603 Sqn machine X-TM X4277 that was the mount of famous B of B pilot and author Richard Hillary when he was shot down and badly burned off Margate on the 3rd of September. Immeadiately above the roundel of his aircraft in the distance is the wreck of a 222 Sqn machine that received a direct hit when the aerodrome was accurately bombed on the 31st of August, the same incident in which the famous 54 Sqn pilot F/Lt. Al Deere was blown out the sky on takeoff with 2 other aircraft, all pilots miraculously walking away with cuts and bruises.

    I hope this helps flesh out the story a little!

    Regards, Ned.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Flying Officer John Wintringham Cutts of 222 Squadron.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    His new named Headstone at Sittingbourne.
    Last edited by big ned; 03-10-2013 at 03:59 AM.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Battle of Britain Spitfire Relic

    Thankyou Ned for that very interesting information, It really helps with the story of John Cutts and the other pilots. I didnt realise there was so much information linked to that photo of Hornchurch and it was also interesting to read that the crash site was excavated in 1972 as this was the year i was born.. Once again thanks

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