Boulton Paul Defiant Mk I

Building a model kit is like holding a piece of history in our own hands.

Plane Dave

An example of a less than fully successful concept, the Defiant was one of the first generation of fighters that Great Britain had on entering World War II.

Let’s look an interesting idea that never fulfilled its promise.

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Airfix Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I Build in 1/72 Scale

Remembering 264 Squadron

Inch High Guy

AirfixDefiant_01Airfix released their new-tool Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I in 2015.  A nice kit, and we see Airfix building upon their success with finer panel lines while still providing nice wheelwells and cockpit components.  Assembly is also straight forward and the kit is well engineered.  The unusual configuration of this subjects leads to a few traps for the unwary, but these are easily avoided with a little planning.

AirfixDefiant_02The cockpit is well appointed and goes together without difficulty.  Either on this build, or Airfix’s Spitfire, or Hurricane I had no issues with fitting cockpit components or over-sized cockpits spreading the fuselage sides.  There is one issue to mention at this point however – the turret gun ring must be installed before the fuselage halves are joined or it will be difficult (impossible?) to insert without damage later.

AirfixDefiant_03Here is the interior all painted up, washed with black and drybrushed with silver. …

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Flying Officer Hughes and Sergeant Gash



On the night of 12/13 March the enemy launched a major attack on Liverpool when more than 300 aircraft were despatched. That night there was a full moon and little cloud conditions that greatly improved the chances of the Defiant units intercepting Luftwaffe bombers [..].

No 264 Sqn. flying from Biggin Hill, enjoyed better luck. Firstly, Flg Off Desmond Hughes (in N 1801) spotted an He 111 over Dorking and was able to claim his fourth victory;

The enemy aircraft was engaged from about 50 yards from this position with a series of one-second bursts. The first burst started a small fire in the starboard engine, whilst the next two bursts set the engine thoroughly on fire. Sgt Gash transferred his attention to the cabin and fired several more bursts, the de Wilde ammunition being seen to burst inside the cabin, which forthwith filled with flames. The bandit then fell in a left hand spiral dive and plunged to earth, where the bomb load exploded.

The pilot of the He 111, Stabsfeldwebel Karl Bruning of 5./KG 55, was the only survivor. He later recalled, ‘All hell was let loose. Both engines were hit – they stopped at once’. Bailing out, he noted ‘below me I saw my aeroplane spiralling earthwards in flames.


More information from this forum thread:


I’m researching my father’s history during the war and am following up a story told about his service with the Home Guard. Apparently whilst serving he was present when a German fighter pilot was downed and captured by the local Home Guard. Date March 1941, area Ockley Surrey, whilst waiting for the young man to be collected by the powers that be everyone was offered a cup of tea by the local farmer’s wife except the pilot – Dad (a pilot himself) insisted that he be offered one also upsetting the rest of the Guard! Question – can anyone verify the loss of a fighter over Surrey at that time. Any details/information would be appreciated.




In looking through the daily entries for March 1941 in Vol 2 of The Blitz Then and Now, there are only a few fighter losses, and those either had no survivors or were lost in the Channel. However, there is one rather lengthy detailed account on pp. 468-469 by Stabsfeldwebel Karl Bruning of KG55 telling of his being shot down by a Defiant of No. 264 Squadron around 9:30 the night of March 12, with his He 111 crashing at Dene Farm, Ockley, Surrey. Bruning, the pilot, bailed out but was the only survivor from his crew. He recounts how he was picked up by two people who turned him over to a Home Guard unit, and was given tea and cigarettes. This must be the capture that your father related to you.

The Badge

Adam added this interesting information about the badge:

Fred explained their badge.

Irish legends have it that two giants wanted to claim the land as their own. As they waded towards the coast one cut off his hand and threw it so it landed on the land (Ulster) first, hence the red hand.

I know that after 264 Fred joined another Defiant unit 515 Squadron that had a system named Moonshine, it sought to replicate large formations of bombers to confuse the German Freya radar system. It was a dangerous mission as the Defiant was unarmed in this version.

Regards Adam

The Airmen’s Stories – Sgt. F Gash


Fred Gash joined the RAF in September 1939 as an Airman u/t Air Gunner. He completed his training and joined 264 Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey in August 1940. Gash teamed up with P/O FD Hughes and on 26th August they destroyed two Do17’s in daylight.

In the early hours of the morning of 16th October they destroyed a He111 over Brentwood and then overshot the runway in mist on return to Luton. Both were unhurt.

Above: Gash, standing left, with S/Ldr. PA Hunter of 264

During the night of 23rd November they attacked a He111 but Gash’s turret jammed and it was only claimed as a probable. Hughes and Gash destroyed a He111 on 12th March 1941, damaged another on 8th April and destroyed a Ju88 on the night of the 10/11th.

Gash was awarded the DFM (gazetted 18th April 1941) and Hughes the DFC.
His subsequent service is currently undocumented but Gash was commissioned in May 1943 from Warrant Officer and released from the RAF in 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant.

The Airmen’s Stories – F/O F D Hughes


Wing Commander Frederick Desmond Hughes, Commanding Officer of No. 604 Squadron RAF standing in front of a De Havilland Mosquito NF Mark XIII at Predannack, Cornwall. 1944/45

© IWM (CH 14226)

Colorised by Doug Banks

He wears the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with two bars and the ’39/45 Star with the Battle of Britain rosette (D. Banks)

Frederick Desmond Hughes was born in Donaghadee near Belfast, the son of the director of a linen firm, on 6th June 1919 and educated at Campbell College, Belfast and Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he read Law.

He learned to fly with the University Air Squadron and he was granted a Direct-Entry Commission in the RAF on 3rd October 1939. He went to No. 1 ITW Cambridge in November 1939. On 1st January 1940 Hughes was posted to RAF College FTS Cranwell on No. 2 war course.

He was detached for a few days in May to 5 FTS Sealand to convert to Masters. He then returned to Cranwell, where the course ended on 1st June. Hughes was sent immediately to No. 1 School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum for No. 8 Course. On 10th June Hughes was one of 20 officers from the course who were posted to 5 OTU Aston Down. After converting to Defiants he was posted to 264 Squadron at Duxford on the 19th.

Flying with Sgt. F Gash as his gunner, Hughes claimed two Do17’s destroyed on 26th August, a He111 destroyed during the night of 15th/16th October, a He111 damaged on 23rd/24th November, a He111 destroyed on 12th/13th March 1941, a He111 probably destroyed on 8th/9th April and a He111 shot down on 10th/11th April.

Hughes was awarded the DFC (gazetted 18th April 1941) and Gash the DFM.
In January 1942 Hughes was posted to 125 Squadron at Colerne as a Flight Commander. He shared in the squadron’s first victory, a Ju88 on 27th June.
Later that year he also became the first (or one of the first) to take his pet dog on a sortie. His mongrel Scruffy, dressed in flying overalls for warmth, survived the sortie, only to be killed by a WAAF truck driver shortly afterwards.

Later in the year he teamed up with P/O L Dixon and they shared in the destruction of a Ju88 on 4th November.

Hughes joined 600 Squadron in North Africa on 19th January 1943 as a Flight Commander. Dixon went with him and during the night of 23rd/24th January they claimed two Ju88’s destroyed and on 12th/13th February a Cant Z1007.
Hughes was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 13th April 1943).

On 25th/26th April they claimed a Ju88 destroyed, on 12th/13th July a He111, on the 20/21st a Ju88, on 11th/12th August three Ju88’s and on the 17th/18th a Ju87.

Hughes was awarded a second Bar to the DFC (gazetted 28th September 1943).

At the end of 1943 he was posted back to the UK and went to a staff job at Fighter Command. In February 1944 he was promoted to Acting Wing Commander and posted to 85 Group TAF. Hughes returned to operations on 19th July 1944, taking command of 604 Squadron at Hurn.

In early August the squadron was operating from A-8, an airstrip close to the Arromanches beaches. With Dixon as his navigator, Hughes destroyed a Ju88 on 6th/7th August and they claimed their final victory on 13th/14th January 1945, a Ju188 over Rotterdam.

Hughes was awarded the DSO (gazetted 23rd March 1945).

He served on the directing staff of the RAF Staff College, Bracknell between 1954 and 1956 after which he was personal staff officer to the Chief of the Air Staff, then Air Chief Marshal Sir Dermot Boyle, for two years. Between 1959 and 1961 he was station commander at Geilenkirchen in West Germany. In 1962-64 he was director of air staff plans at the Ministry of Defence and ADC to the Queen.

As commandant of the RAF College, Cranwell between 1970 and 1972 he supervised the Prince of Wales’s flying training and presided over the college’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Hughes was awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st January 1954), made a CBE (gazetted 1st January 1962), a CB (1972) and retired on 6th June 1974 as an Air Vice-Marshal.

He was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Lincolnshire in 1983.

He died on 11th January 1992.

Source Internet