The story of North Weald's 'millionaires squadron'

The story of the millionaires' squadron

Hawker Hurricanes with 601 Squadron UF markings

601 commanding officers Paul Richey, Hugh Dundas, Brian Thynne, Sir Archibald Hope, Sir Max Aitken, AOC Sir Sholto Douglas, R.G. Shaw and Christopher McCarthy-Jones

First published in News East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Epping Forest

The Millionaires’ Squadron is a first-hand account of the 601 (Auxiliary) Squadron of the RAF whose pilots were Gleaned from the elite membership of the exclusive White's Club in London.

Author, Tom Moulson, a retired businessman and former member of 601 squadron writes of his experiences and celebrates his fellow pilots’ endeavours.

The squadron, formed in 1924, was based in North Weald from 1949 until it disbanded in 1957.

When formed it was widely regarded by other squadrons as a group of wealthy, flippant pleasure seekers, not chosen on merit.

However, the ‘millionaires’ went on to prove their mettle during the Battles of Britain and Malta.

The squadron was created by Lord Grosvenor whose recruitment policy involved a trial by alcohol to see if candidates could still behave like gentlemen when drunk.

According to Mr Moulson they were required to consume a large port followed by even larger gin and tonics afterwards if they were successful.

Grosvenor who also designed the squadron’s ‘flying sword’ badge wanted officers "of sufficient presence not to be overawed by him and of sufficient means not to be excluded from his favourite pastimes, eating, drinking and Whites."

Originally published in 1964, as The Flying Sword: The Story of 601 Squadron, this second edition features a wealth of brand new material from recently uncovered documentation and photographs.

We have four copies of the book to give away. Send your answer to the question below, along with your name and address to the editor by May 1, 2014. Winners will be drawn at random and prizes must be collected in person. Email tjones@london.newsquest.co.uk or send entries to Guardian, 8 Simon Campion Court, Epping, CM16 4AU.

White’s in St James St is said to be the venue for one of the most bizarre bets ever wagered - Lord Arlington betting with a friend on which of two raindrops would first reach the bottom of a window.

How much is Lord Arlington said to have bet?

Comments (1)

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4:29pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Touchwood says...

Competition closing day 1/5/2014? Something wrong somewhere!
Competition closing day 1/5/2014? Something wrong somewhere! Touchwood
  • Score: 0

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