Dunkirk Brian John Edward Lane was born in Harrogate on 18th June 1917. He joined the RAF in 1936 and flew with Nos. 66 and 213 Squadrons RAF before the outbreak of the Second World War. He joined 19 Squadron as a flight commander in 1939 and became temporary commanding officer when the existing CO was killed over Dunkirk on 25th May 1940. During the Dunkirk evacuation Lane was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his bravery, and his official rating as a fighter pilot classed "exceptional". Battle of Britain & 19 Squadron On the 26th May Lane claimed a Ju87 and a Me109 destroyed and a Me109 probably destroyed and on 1st June a probable Me110. On 24th August Lane claimed a Me110 destroyed. He was given command of 19 Squadron on 5th September after the CO had been killed. Lane claimed a Me110 destroyed on 7th September, destroyed two more and damaged a He111 on the 11th and probably destroyed a Me109 on the 15th. 19 Squadron often operated with 242 Squadron led by Squadron Leader Douglas Bader, the squadrons often working together as part of the Duxford Wing, 12 Group's controversial "Big Wing" formation During Lane's operational career he claimed 6 (and 1 shared) enemy aircraft shot down, 2 unconfirmed destroyed, 1 probable destroyed and 1 damaged. 19 Squadron’s motto was 'Possunt quia posse videntur' - 'They can because they think they can'. 167 Squadron Between November 1941 and February 1942 Lane served on staff appointments in the Middle East, before returning to the United Kingdom to command No. 61 Operational Training Unit. On 9th December 1942 Lane took command of 167 Squadron. Four days later he was up in the morning for a familiarisation flight then in the afternoon Lane took off, in Spitfire Vc AR612 'VL-U', with three other pilots for a Rhubarb operation over Holland. During the Rhubarb they got into combat with FW 190's from 6./JG 1. The combat took place at zero feet and Brian, whose wireless set was not working, was last seen diving down on the tail of a FW 190. The Spitfire V was inferior to the FW 190 and also operating a long way from home, and probably getting low on fuel. At some point during the engagement the tables turned on Lane and he was shot down into the sea approximately 30 km West of Schouwen island by Oberleutnant Walter Leonhardt. Lane's body was never recovered from the sea. To this day he is still classified as MIA. 167 Squadron's motto was 'Ubique sine mora' - 'Everywhere without delay'.
The Mk V was produced in greater numbers than any other single mark of Spitfire. It was the main version of the fighter during 1941, replacing the Mk I and II in service in time to take part in the first British counterattacks over France. During the summer of 1941 it held an advantage over the Bf 109, but in September 1941 the Fw 190 made its operation debut, and the Mk V found itself outclassed. Despite this, it remained the main RAF fighter until the summer of 1942, and the low level LF.Mk V remained in use into 1944. The Fw 190 appeared in September 1941, and outclassed the Spitfire V. Several changes were made to the Mk V to improve its chances against the new German fighter while the RAF waited for the improved Mk IX, VI or VII to arrive. One of the most significant was the long awaited arrival of a carburettor designed to work properly under negative-G, which much improved the dog fighting ability of the Mk V. Despite these changes, the Fw 190 remained a superior aircraft. On 1st June 1942 during a raid on northern Belgium the Fw 190s shot down eight Spitfires for no lose. The next day another raid suffered just as badly, when seven Spitfires were shot down for no return. Raids over northern Europe would have to wait for the arrival of the Mk IX. Maximum speed at 20,000 ft - 371 mphService ceiling - 38,000 ft
The Fw190A was superior to the Spitfire Mk V in the dive, climb and rate of roll and, most importantly, the German fighter was faster at all heights by between 25-35mph. The Fw190 was found to have better acceleration under all conditions of flight. It could leave the Spitfire with ease in the dive, particularly in the initial stages, and, if in a turn, could flick roll into an opposing diving turn which proved almost impossible for the Spitfire to follow successfully. In combat the Spitfire could still turn tighter, but the speed, dive and rate of roll differential meant that the Luftwaffe pilots could dictate when and where they wanted to fight, and disengage at will.
Maximum speed at 20,000 ft - 408 mphService ceiling - 37,430 ft