Hawker Hurricane Mk I, F/L James Nicolson VC, No 249 Squadron, Royal Air Force, 16 August 1940

F/L James Nicolson was the only Fighter Command pilot to receive the Victoria Cross during World War II. On 16 August 1940, his aircraft was hit by enemy cannon fire and began to burn. As Nicolson was about to bail out, he realized his opponent had overshot him. He climbed back in the burning cockpit and shot him down, receiving grievous burn injuries in the process.

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  • A3 (16.53" x 11.69")
  • A4 (11.69" x 8.26")
  • A5 (8.26" x 5.82")

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Text:

James Brindley Nicolson VC
Hawker Hurricane Mk I P3576
flown by Victoria Cross recipient F/L James B. Nicolson
No 249 Squadron, Royal Air Force
RAF Boscombe Down, 16 August 1940
Battle of Britain

The KING has been graciously pleased to confer the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned officer in recognition of most conspicuous bravery : —

Flight Lieutenant James Brindley NICOLSON (39329) — No. 249 Squadron.

During an engagement with the enemy near Southampton on 16th August 1940, Flight Lieutenant Nicolson's aircraft was hit by four cannon shells, two of which wounded him whilst another set fire to the gravity tank. When about to abandon his aircraft owing to flames in the cockpit he sighted an enemy fighter. This he attacked and shot down, although as a result of staying in his burning aircraft he sustained serious burns to his hands, face, neck and legs. Flight Lieutenant Nicolson has always displayed great enthusiasm for air fighting and this incident shows that he possesses 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.

Artist: Gaëtan Marie

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