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The Real Dukes of Hazard

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  • The Real Dukes of Hazard

    Everyone and his/her granny knows that Hugh Dowding sent a famous Memo to Winston Churchill at the time of the Battle of France in 1940 succesfully protesting at plans to send the ailing French more British fighter planes which ''Stuffy'' Dowding rightly said should be conserved in Britain for the struggles to come (The Battle of Britain) but what is much less known is that this vital intelligence about the crumbling French war effort and will to fight ,was supplied by Dowding's fellow Scotsman, the aristocratic Duke of Hamilton.
    This was the same premiiere Scottish Peer of the Realm who as, the Marquis of Clydesdale was the first pilot to fly over Mount Everest in 1933.
    A feat that won the admiration of a German Nazi leader and pilot, called Rudolf Hess-who literally dropped in on the same Duke of Hamilton in Scotland in 1941 by parachute.
    But Lord Douglas Hamilton himself must have been hacked off by the idea that a suprise 1941 noctrunal visit to Scotland by a Nazi nutter like Hess was the Duke's only claim to World War Two fame.
    Not so.
    In 1940 Hugh Dowding asked the Duke of Hamilton to undetake a three day aerial reconnaisance mission over the French armies in France in 1940 flying in only an unarmed ''Miles Magister'' training monoplane which would have been a sitting duck against any marauding ME-109 Luftwaffe fighters.
    The Duke however, carried out the mission, survived, and was Mentioned in Despatches by a grateful Dowding.
    Who then wrote that crucial Memo to Churchill -the Duke of Hamilton's part in producing the vital intelligence data underscoring Dowding's Memo was omitted from the 1969 movie ''The Battle of Britain' so this is to set the record straight.
    Similarly, the Duke's brother, Lord George Hamilton, had commanded the 603 City of Edinburgh squadron-one of the highest scoring outfits during the B.O.B. in 1940.
    And while flying a Welington Mark X bomber in the area of the Bay of Biscay while flying en route to East Africa to take up a major R.A.F. command posting there, George Douglas Hamilton successfuly saw off an attack by five JU-88'S who scored hits against the bomber piloted by Lord George. Who, nevertheless, survived to reach East Africa.
    Meanwhile, the Duke of Hamilton's other, youngest brother, then commanded the 603 squadron in 1942 in Malta at the height of the Axis campaign against the George Cross island .Personally taking part in many dogfights over Malta.
    So the Hamiltons?-truly the real Dukes of Hazard.

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