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'Little did we know how dangerous these bloody rockets were!'


'Tally Ho!' - joining the 609 West Riding Squadron
Ken Adam Artist
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I went back to... England, and... did some more training on Masters and Hurricanes, and then in October 1943 joined the top-scoring fighter squadron in the... in 11 Group at the time, which was 609 West Riding Squadron, motto: Tally Ho! And of course they were all heroes to me, those people – and flying Typhoons, which was a younger brother of the Hurricane, and had just been… come out and didn't have a Rolls-Royce engine but had a 24-cylinder Napier Sabre engine and was unbelievably powerful and fast, but had certain temperamental problems. But for a time we just flew straight fighter escorts and so on.

Sir Kenneth Adam (1921-2016), OBE, born Klaus Hugo Adam, was a production designer famous for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, he trained as an architect in London, but in October 1943, he became one of only two German-born fighter pilots to fly with the RAF in wartime. He joined 609 Squadron where he flew the Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber. After the war, he entered the film industry, initially as a draughtsman on This Was a Woman. His portfolio of work includes Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George; he won an Oscar for both films. Having a close relationship with Stanley Kubrick, he also designed the set for the iconic war room in Dr Strangelove. Sir Ken Adam was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: England, 1943, 609 West Riding Squadron, Rolls-Royce, Napier Sabre

Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 15 August 2011