Following in his father’s cockpit at Lee-on-the-Solent

Captain Raymond Morton of the Royal Canadian Air Force alongside RT486 in late 1944 or 1945 and, below, his son Leigh recreating the picture beside the same aircraft.
Captain Raymond Morton of the Royal Canadian Air Force alongside RT486 in late 1944 or 1945 and, below, his son Leigh recreating the picture beside the same aircraft.
One of the Portsmouth divers going through decontamination. Picture: Royal Navy

Portsmouth bomb squad recover mustard gas bombs

0
Have your say

Imagine sitting in the cockpit of an aircraft your father flew 70 years previously.

That is exactly what happened recently to Leigh Morton from Canada.

Leigh Morton in his late father's footsteps alongside RT486 today. PPP-141118-115837001

Leigh Morton in his late father's footsteps alongside RT486 today. PPP-141118-115837001

Leigh was on a stop-over in England and met two friends, Adele and Geoff Hemmings.

They knew of Leigh’s father Captain Raymond Morton, a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the war.

They also knew that the light aircraft he flew still existed and, after much conservation work, was still airworthy.

Auster Mk5 Mil RT486 was used for reconnaissance flights and for bringing messages back to England.

Indeed, in the late summer of 1944 RT486, piloted by a TCJ Willett was used to gather intelligence from the ill-fated airborne assault, Operation Market Garden, fought in the Netherlands.

They managed to get hold of Jon Butts of the Lee Flying Association at Lee-on-the-Solent .

He put them in touch with the present owner of the aircraft.

It was arranged for Leigh to have a photograph taken alongside the aircraft which his late father piloted.

Jon also arranged for Eric Downing, a member of the consortium which owns RT486 to meet Leigh.

On arrival at the old HMS Daedalus airfield, Leigh was in for a surprise because Eric agreed to let him sit in his father’s seat while it was taxied down the runway.

Unfortunately conditions were not fit to fly.