Ken Hicks memories



Ken Hicks memories


Recollection of work Ken Hicks carried out during the Battle of Britain on 222 Squadron at Royal Air Force Hornchurch. He notes that 37 pilots of 222 Squadron fought in the battle and 18 were killed.


Temporal Coverage



One page typewritten document


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My first posting from Halton, at the tender age of 18, was to 222 NATAL FIGHTER SQUADRON at Kirton in Lindsey. The Squadron soon moved to Hornchurch and, although I didn’t know it at the time, the Battle of Britain was about to commence – and I was being thrown in at the deep end!

Chiefy asked me [italics]“Can you draw?”.[/italics] I nodded and then he said, [italics“Good! On every new spitfire delivered to this Squadron, I want you to draw and paint the letter ZD on the side of the fuselage and then I’ll tell you which letter to paint of the right of the roundel.”[/italics]

I was kept busy with three aircraft in the first week, two of them with the letter E to the right of the roundel. On seeing other Spits with cannon and bullet holes being repaired, it dawned on me that the new aircraft were replacements for the Spitfires shot down.

With all the ‘scrambles’, bombing and night work, I hardly had a thought for what went on in the air.

I have recently read the book ‘Narrow Margin- the Battle of Britain and the rise of airpower’ and in it there is a list naming aircrew who fought under Fighter Command Operational Control from July 10th to October 31st 1940. As a point of interest, I listed the names of 222 Squadron pilots during that period. The total was 37 pilots, 18 killed. I wonder if I would have worked any harder or put more effort into servicing and repairing those Spitfires if I had known what was happening at ‘Angels 15’, above my hanger.

Incidentally, I filed my medical to become a pilot as my right eye was not good enough, so I stuck to my toolbox.



Ken Hicks, “Ken Hicks memories,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 23, 2024,

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