Battle of Britain Spitfire Pilot - Old Ratcliffian Paul Baillon
As we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and 'The Few', referred to by Sir Winston Churchill, who fought bravely to save our country, it is a time to remember our own soldiers and pilots who paid the ultimate sacrifice. One of them, fighter Pilot Paul Baillon, attended Ratcliffe College from 1924 - 1932, and was killed in a dog-fight over the English Channel in 1940, just weeks after bailing out of his previous Spitfire (P9503) over Wiltshire. The wreckage of his Spitfire was buried in the earth of Salisbury Plain until 2013 when a team of MoD archaeologists dug it up. On December 9th 2014, Ratcliffe College proudly received all the known parts of the Spitfire and Paul's daughter, Rosemary, was at the College that day to witness the handing over of the Spitfire from the MoD. Rosemary said that her father would have been amazed and very proud that parts from his Spitfire would now be kept at his beloved School forever.
Students building a full-size replica Mk 1 Spitfire
The Ratcliffe Spitfire Project is an extra-curricular club attended by 11-17 year old students, supported by Parents and Staff of Ratcliffe College, and who are building a 1:1 scale replica of a Mk1 Supermarine Spitfire as flown by Old Ratcliffian fighter pilot, Paul Baillon. A full-size Mk1 Spitfire replica is an iconic symbol of British pride and its construction is a clear, accurate and stimulating tribute to those engineers and pilots who made it and flew it in the 1940s. We are very proud of the part played by Old Ratcliffians, and in particular the Ratcliffe Aerodrome, in WWII. We are also very proud of the work being undertaken by our current students as part of this important and historical project, and we hope that you will find time to visit our NEW DEDICATED website www.RatcliffeSpitfire.com