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D-Day Typhoon Veteran celebrates 100th Birthday

06/09/2014 | by Royal Air Force
Tags : Typhoon RAF


D-Day Typhoon Veteran celebrates 100th Birthday
© Royal Air Force
A WWII wireless mechanic who served as ground crew to Hawker Typhoons during the D-Day Landings recently celebrated his 100th birthday with a VIP tour of 6 Squadron at RAF Leuchars.

William ‘Willie’ Taylor enjoyed a guided tour of 6 Squadron’s aircraft and facilities by current Eurofighter Typhoon pilot Flight Lieutenant Si Cook. Both air and ground crew alike were delighted to meet Willie and chat about his experiences in the Royal Air Force.

At the onset of WWII, Willie, a graduate of the University of Glasgow and a teacher of Maths, volunteered for signals work with the RAF and subsequently joined an elite unit of wireless mechanics:

“Although it was very complex, our job was essentially to jam enemy aircraft signals and prevent the German bombers hitting their intended locations. It was very top secret at the time.”

Willie was then posted to No. 175 Squadron where he serviced Hawker Typhoons as the aircraft were prepared for the Normandy invasion. Equipped with bombs and rockets, Typhoons flew over the French coastline during D-Day, destroying critical targets and clearing the way for troops on the ground. The Typhoon was one of the RAF’s most successful ground attack aircraft and Willie was part of a team whose responsibility it was to keep them ready for action.

Willie Taylor, a wireless mechanic who served as ground crew to Hawker Typhoons during the D-Day Landings recently celebrated his 100th birthday with a VIP tour of 6 Squadron, also celebrating 100 years, at RAF Leuchars.“One thing it taught me working so closely with these guys was to have trust in your colleagues. We had to check the aircraft systems over every morning and liaise with the pilot over any faults. Everyone had great trust in each other since everybody’s lives were at stake.”

After the War Willie returned to teaching where he established and ran a purpose built school for the deaf in Ayrshire. He credits his long life to keeping his brain active and his body as mobile as possible.

Willie’s visit to RAF Leuchars was of special significance to 6 Squadron who are also celebrating their 100th year in 2014.

Flight Lieutenant Si Cook said:

“It was a pleasure to host Mr Taylor and to celebrate both his and 6 Squadron’s Centenaries. His sharp memory gave us a great insight into Hawker Typhoon operations during the Second World War and we were glad to discuss the capabilities of the modern Typhoon and show him around an aircraft.”

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