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This is a specially produced glossy bookplate bearing the original pencil signature of Battle of Britain veteran John ‘Jack’ Toombs. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training and joined 236 Squadron at St. Eval in August 1940.
His first operational sortie with 236 was made on 24th August. All Toombs’ sorties during the Battle of Britain period were made with the same crew, P/O AL van Waeyenberghe, pilot, and Sgt. JR Thompson, observer. These two men were lost on 10th March 1941, serving with 272 Squadron, when their Blenheim was lost without trace on a sortie from Northern Ireland.
Returning from a sortie to Brest, Toombs fired a Verey pistol at two Me109s, attacking his aircraft. It seems that one pulled up sharply and collided with the other. Toombs watched one go down but did not see what happened to the second.
At some time, probably after the Battle of Britain, Toombs and van Wayenberghe were attached briefly to 264 Squadron, flying non-operationally. They rejoined 236 at their own request.
In 1941 Toombs was posted to 7 Squadron, operating in Stirlings from Oakington. He flew as a rear gunner. The bookplate will fit most books on The Battle of Britain.

Battle of Britain Air Gunner John Toombs Signed Bookplate

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