Air Cdre Kit North-Lewis
Entering the RAF because he was bored with the Army, Air Cdre Kit North-Lewis had plenty of excitement as he led squadrons of Typhoon fighters in the struggle to defeat Nazi Germany.
He attacked road and rail targets in the days before the Allied invasion, and was constantly in action in the 10-day period after D-Day when he "flew 20 close support sorties". One hundred and fifty-one Typhoon pilots were lost during the liberation of France.
"On August 7 a major German counter-attack, spearheaded by five Panzer divisions, was identified moving against just two US infantry divisions. The Panzers had already captured three important villages and were threatening to cut off the US Third Army near Mortain as it began moving into Brittany. A shuttle service of Typhoons was established, and by the end of the day they had flown more than 300 sorties. . .
"During the airborne landings in Holland in September North-Lewis and his pilots supported the Guards Armoured Division as it began its dash to link up with the forces at Eindhoven. The Typhoons put down a rolling barrage on either side of the road, allowing the tanks to drive forward. His wing was the first to arrive in Holland when, three days after the capture of Eindhoven, his Typhoons landed at the nearby, badly-damaged, airfield".
In March he was supporting the airborne assualt and amphibious crossing on the Rhine when he was shot down and crash-landed on a small island. He was briefly taken prisoner, but found an abandoned canoe and paddled back to Allied forces. In the previous 14 months he had flown 176 operational sorties.
Described as honest, modest, and occasionally irascible, Kit North-Lewis was decorated by the British and Dutch governments. He had a fine career after the war.
Ave atque Vale.