Canadian Kurt takes part in Spitfire cycling trip: RETRO

Kurt Turchan from Canada will be in Chichester on September 11, hoping to talk to relatives of Spitfire pilots.
Kurt Turchan from Canada will be in Chichester on September 11, hoping to talk to relatives of Spitfire pilots.
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I have received an email from Kurt Turchan of Canada who is over in England cycling the South Downs Way.  Kurt, above, is the the founder of allspitfirepilots.org, a website dedicated to the Spitfire and the pilots that flew it. 

He will be touring England this autumn to expand his online archive of the renowned British fighter aircraft. It includes photos, memories and a database of Spitfire pilots from around the world.

A cartoon by Plum in a 1949 Football Mail. Are you a descendant of Leo Pettit who wrote the Pompey columns in the Championship years?

A cartoon by Plum in a 1949 Football Mail. Are you a descendant of Leo Pettit who wrote the Pompey columns in the Championship years?

Thousands of Spitfires and pilots have been submitted to the website by users from all over the world including the UK, Australia, Canada, the US, France, Poland, Norway, New Zealand and South Africa.

Kurt said: ‘While pilots from many nations flew the Spitfire, it was designed and built in the UK so it is my hope that this trip will raise awareness of the website and encourage history buffs and Spitfire enthusiasts to visit and contribute their own stories, photos and pilot information.’

Kurt’s 100-mile bicycle tour kicks off next Wednesday, September 11, at 7pm, at the Dolphin and Anchor in Chichester, a pub frequented by airmen from the local Tangmere airfield throughout the war and during the Battle of Britain.

He will be joined by author and former RAF pilot Ron Powell who will give a talk on selected Battle of Britain pilots.

With elm and oak trees giving summmer shade we are looking down Church Lane, Warblington. Photo: Ralph Cousins collection.

With elm and oak trees giving summmer shade we are looking down Church Lane, Warblington. Photo: Ralph Cousins collection.

All are welcome, and Kurt hopes to meet with those who may be able to contribute to the site.

After attending the Battle of Britain Day ceremony in Capel-le-Ferne on September 15, Kurt will visit the Old Jail pub after visiting Biggin Hill and again welcomes anyone to join him.

This year is the 70th anniversary of Pompey winning the First Division Championship two seasons running.

The Pompey History Society is attempting to track down descendants of Frederick Pettit, a former editor of The News, and his brother Leo, who wrote about the club under the name of Ranger, below.

With Christmas on the way, here we see a scene at a Waterlooville butchers.  Photo: Barry Cox postcard collection.

With Christmas on the way, here we see a scene at a Waterlooville butchers. Photo: Barry Cox postcard collection.

The Society is attempting to recreate the League Champions' celebration dinner and wishes to invite relatives of some of the key people of the time. Please contact anne.england20@gmail.com or email myself.

I have gone out of the city for a view of what was countryside then, and still is today, below, of Church Lane, Warblington.

Sadly, all the trees have long gone, mostly through Dutch elm disease in the 1970s. There are just hedgerows left.

This view dates from the turn of the last century. The Church of St Thomas a' Becket is in the distance.

Warblington Castle, the home of Margaret Pole until executed on the orders of Henry VIII, is out of camera to the left.

When winters were really cold, meat could be hung on railings outside, like Thomas Grigg’s shop in Waterlooville. There are quarters of beef and turkeys on wooden trestle tables on the pavement, and delivery vans on standby.