Operation Big Ben: The Anti-V2 Spitfire Missions

Operation Big Ben: The Anti-V2 Spitfire Missions

by Craig Cabell


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When Hitler unleashed his V1 and V2 rockets on Great Britain in 1944, it was the first military attack on the British civilian population without invasion. Innocent families were wiped out without mercy and terror gripped the nation. Churchill and the Crossbow Committee knew that widespread panic would soon ensue, because the British public were becoming increasingly anxious about the Nazis superior technology, which was destroying their lives. But through important intelligence from Bomber Command, Naval commandos, the French and Dutch Resistances in Europe, and the precise plotting of V rocket activity in the Filter Room of Fighter Command through air reconnaissance, a Top Secret plan was formed to dive-bomb V rocket installations with Mark IX and Mark XVI Spitfires.

Craig Cabell is the writer and historian responsible for bringing Operation Big Ben to world attention. He has studied the original documentation since its release from the National Archive in 2004 and interviewed veterans who took part in the operation, such as Flight Lieutenant Raymond Baxter. Cabell’s initial research resulted in many accolades and now resides in the 602 ‘City of Glasgow’ Squadron Museum. But now, for the first time, Cabell has put together the whole story of Operation Big Ben, showing the work of the Crossbow Committee, intelligence Commandos under the orders of Commander Ian Fleming, the French and Dutch Resistances, and the brave men who flew the Spitfires of 124, 229, 303, 453, 602 and 603 squadrons. Witness one of the British Military’s Finest Moments and Most Covert Operations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781554395
Publisher: Fonthill Media
Publication date: 08/18/2016
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Craig Cabell is a journalist and author. His works include, in addition to Frederick Forsyth - A Matter of Protocol, The Kray Brothers, Dennis Wheatley - Churchill's Storyteller and VE Day - A Day to Remember (published by Pen and Sword Books).

Table of Contents

Author's Note 5

Acknowledgements 7

List of Operations and Deception Plans 10

Dutch Locations: A Guide 11

List of Abbreviations 14

Introduction 15

1 Attacking London and the Home Counties 21

2 The Art of Deception 26

3 The Formation of Intelligence Commandos 31

4 Fighting Back Against the V-Weapons 39

5 Converting to the Clipped-Winged Spitfires 44

6 124 Squadron's Story 50

7 303 Squadron's Story 63

8 453 Squadron's Story 86

9 602 Squadron's Story 90

10 603 Squadrons Story 139

11 Liberation 193

12 Operation Big Ben: Seventy Years On 195

Appendix I Fleming's Memo for a New Commando Force and Rationale 197

Appendix II Pilots Lost 200

Sources 201

Endnotes 205

Bibliography and Further Reading 207

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