The Silver Spitfire & Tom 'Ginger' Neil

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Gage, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I've heard of Tom Neil but never of his 'Silver Spitfire'. Has anybody seen any pictures.
    Precious little on Wiki
    Tom Neil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Silver Spitfire: The Legendary WWII RAF Fighter Pilot in his Own Words: Amazon.co.uk: Wg Cdr Tom Neil: Books



    As the Allies pushed east, Neil commandeered an abandoned Spitfire as his own personal aeroplane. Erasing any evidence of its provenance and stripping it down to bare metal, it became the RAF's only silver Spitfire. Love affair and culture clashes on hold, he took the silver Spitfire into battle alongside his US comrades until - with the war's end - he was forced to make a difficult decision. Faced with too many questions about the mysterious rogue fighter, he contemplated increasingly desperate measures to offload it, including bailing out mid-Channel. He eventually left the Spitfire at Worthy Down, never to be seen again. The Silver Spitfire is the first-hand, gripping story of Neil's heroic experience as an RAF fighter pilot and his reminiscences with his very own personal Spitfire.
     
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    'The Silver Spitfire' Description
    During the build up to the Allied invasion of Northern Europe, Battle of Britain hero Tom 'Ginger' Neil was assigned as an RAF liaison to an American fighter squadron. Acting as a British representative, Neil was tasked with negotiating and overcoming the countless culture clashes that existed between the two allies. From encountering unfamiliar planes and uncomfortable attitudes towards the British to meeting the King of Yugoslavia and General George Patton and falling in love, Neil's time with the Americans was anything but dull. As the Allies pushed east, Neil commandeered an abandoned Spitfire as his own personal aeroplane. Erasing any evidence of its provenance and stripping it down to bare metal, it became the RAF's only silver Spitfire. Love affair and culture clashes on hold, he took the silver Spitfire into battle alongside his US comrades until - with the war's end - he was forced to make a difficult decision. Faced with too many questions about the mysterious rogue fighter, he contemplated increasingly desperate measures to offload it, including bailing out mid-Channel. He eventually left the Spitfire at Worthy Down, never to be seen again. The Silver Spitfire is the first-hand, gripping story of Neil's heroic experience as an RAF fighter pilot and his reminiscences with his very own personal Spitfire.


    The Silver Spitfire Tom Neill | WHSmith.co.uk
     
  3. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

  4. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Craig,

    The Silver Spitfire is new to me and I can image that the polished duraluminium would have looked extremely well.

    With quite a few kilos less of paint it should also have had a slightly enhanced performance.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  5. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Craig,

    The Silver Spitfire is new to me and I can image that the polished duraluminium would have looked extremely well.

    With quite a few kilos less of paint it should also have had a slightly enhanced performance.

    Regards
    Tom

    I wonder if he flew along side the Mustangs.
    I bet, Tom.
     
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Craig,

    Just had a look at the Fighter Wing that Tom Neil was Liason Officer with and it appears that depending on the squadron it could have been Lightnings, Thunderbolts or Mustangs.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  7. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Thanks Tom.
     
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Graig,

    Perhaps the book explains more about the planes he flew with, but you cannot view inside the book on the Amazon link I had.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  9. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Graig,

    Perhaps the book explains more about the planes he flew with, but you cannot view inside the book on the Amazon link I had.

    Regards
    Tom

    I might have to get the book when it's out, Tom.
     
  10. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    I see Tom Neil has another autobiography out! I believe Dirk Bogarde had 7, surely Tom is catching him up!
     
  11. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    More from Tom
    tom n.jpg

    Strangely, it’s only now, three-quarters of a century later, that Tom feels the loss of his young comrades most acutely. “I look back now at the bravery of those who were killed and those who were hideously wounded and burnt, and I think perhaps I didn’t do enough,” he says. “It’s very difficult to talk about it, but as you get older you wake up at 4am or some ghastly hour and you have horrible thoughts about those rather precarious days you were faced with. All those occasions when you were enthusiastic for battle, and you think: I should have done more.”
    Battle of Britain hero Tom Neil on why he's still haunted by the men who never came home



    http://www.battleofbritainmemorial.org/squadron-logbook/tom-neil-says-all-the-wrong-things/
     
    Gage likes this.
  12. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Just reading the book now while on vacation.

    Considering his advanced age, he writes exceptionally well in an entertaining and self deprecating style. His unique liaison role provides a perspective I have have not heard previously.

    Recommended
     
    pensioner1938 likes this.
  13. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Sad to report that Tom passed away yesterday.
     
  14. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    :poppy: Tom Neil RIP. :poppy:
     
  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  16. Little Friend

    Little Friend Senior Member

    It's an excellent book ! My other-half bought it for me last year. Now she is reading it after hearing about his passing.
     

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