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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Lieutenant General Avi Baron M Donnet CVO DFC FRAeS (deceased)
*Signature Value : £40
|One of Belgiums most distinguished fighter pilots, Mike Donnet led 350 (Belgian) Squadron Spitfires over the D-Day beaches just before dawn, as the invasion was going in. He returned to the beachhead during the day and then finally at sunset. In all he flew 30 sorties over the beaches during the Normandy campaign. Originally a member of the Belgian Air Force, Donnet was captured by the Germans in May 1940 but subsequently made a daring escape to England by air in July 1941. Flying with 69 Squadron he scored three victories before taking command of 350 Squadron. After Normandy Donnet was in action against the V1s and the retreating German ground forces, as well as providing air cover for the Arnhem operation. In October 1944 he took command of the Hawkinge Wing of Spitfires. He rose to high command in the postwar Belgian Air Force. Mike Donnett died on 31st July 2013.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Spitfire||Royal Air Force fighter aircraft, maximum speed for mark I Supermarine Spitfire, 362mph up to The Seafire 47 with a top speed of 452mph. maximum ceiling for Mk I 34,000feet up to 44,500 for the mark XIV. Maximum range for MK I 575 miles . up to 1475 miles for the Seafire 47. Armament for the various Marks of Spitfire. for MK I, and II . eight fixed .303 browning Machine guns, for MKs V-IX and XVI two 20mm Hispano cannons and four .303 browning machine guns. and on later Marks, six to eight Rockets under the wings or a maximum bomb load of 1,000 lbs. Designed by R J Mitchell, The proto type Spitfire first flew on the 5th March 1936. and entered service with the Royal Air Force in August 1938, with 19 squadron based and RAF Duxford. by the outbreak of World war two, there were twelve squadrons with a total of 187 spitfires, with another 83 in store. Between 1939 and 1945, a large variety of modifications and developments produced a variety of MK,s from I to XVI. The mark II came into service in late 1940, and in March 1941, the Mk,V came into service. To counter the Improvements in fighters of the Luftwaffe especially the FW190, the MK,XII was introduced with its Griffin engine. The Fleet Air Arm used the Mk,I and II and were named Seafires. By the end of production in 1948 a total of 20,351 spitfires had been made and 2408 Seafires. The most produced variant was the Spitfire Mark V, with a total of 6479 spitfires produced. The Royal Air Force kept Spitfires in front line use until April 1954.|
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