Chasseur de V1
The sun came up on this 3rd August 1944, breaking the clouds. Near the cliffs of Beachy Head, the sky is full of aircraft. One by one the Spitfires take to the skies. Jean Maridor pulls on his Mae West, then climbs aboard his craft. The rays of light dance about the wind screen and the cockpit is warm.
Earlier, Jean had flown a 45 min sortie with another member of his squadron with out seeing any V1s. The radar stations have just signalled a new menace!
He started the engine, manoeuvres for take off and then pulls away heading towards the sea. Jean turns on his radio and calls to base:
The reply takes a while, whilst Jean climbs into the sky, as Sussex and Kent unfold below him.
“Hello! Base to Red 1. Diver at 3 o’Clock. 3.500 feet”
The fighter pilot, pushes his joystick, checks his course on the compass. The diver must be near to Winchelsea & New Rommey. The V1 comes into sight above Rye. Puffs of Flak following it in hot pursuit.
Jean, drops from the sky to catch up … As he get in close, he can make out the distinct details of the buzzbomb with its chamber spitting fire as it is races forever forward. Like a film in fast forward the English country side races past underneath the two adversaries.
600 Km/h - 650 km/h the target grows forever bigger. Maridor, adjusts his gun sight and then lets rip a burst of bullets towards his prey. Seemingly hit, but the V1 continues its course.
Further in the distance, perched on the hill, a building, a Hospital is nestled into the surrounding country side. Draped on its roof a Red cross.
Jean Maridor, cannot see it, chasing the V1 trying to put it out of action before it drops on a town somewhere. He has to shoot it down, with only a few seconds to do so. At 800 km/h Maridor lets out another burst from his machine guns. He is close, to close, to the V1 and as it bursts in to a ball of flame in front of him, the blast from the explosion rips thought his Spitfire taking with it the wings from the craft.
The fuselage, breaks into two and it falls into the hospital gardens…
It all happened so quickly, frozen, the hospital occupants cannot believe what has just unfolded before their eye, and from what they have just managed to survive.
Rapidly nurses and doctors race to the scene of the crash. Amongst the mangled wreck lies a body, drooped like a puppet whose strings are not pulled tight. They lift the Mae West and in front of them lies the body of a French fighter pilot.