94 yr old friend of Battle of Britain pilot visits Spitfire project at school
On Monday 18th November 2013 Ratcliffe College welcomed a very special guest; George Mobbs, aged 94 visited with his friend Bill Vernon. They both came to the College to meet Dominic Berry (Head of Art and Design) who is running an extra-curricular club with students, building a replica, full-scale Spitfire. The project, known as The Ratcliffe Spitfire, is being undertaken to honour an ex-pupil, Paul Baillon, who was killed at the end of the Battle of Britain in 1940, and it is in the colours of one of Paul’s aircraft that the project will paint their Spitfire.
George and Paul were close friends growing up together and he knew all four of the Baillon boys well. It was just by chance last September, when George happened to catch the one o’clock news on televison that he heard of a dig on Sailsbury Plain to recover a Mk1 Spitfire that had crashed in 1940; and the pilot’s name was Paul Baillon! Since then, George has made contact with Paul’s daughter, Rosemary, and with Dominic at Ratcliffe College. George enjoyed reminiscing about his time growing up with the Baillons, and of his own very interesting time in the army during the war were he became an expert at aircraft recognition whilst part of the home defence. He also presented the project with a wonderful book about the Spitfire which includes a lovely inscription on the inside.