Fighter pilot’s flying gear sold

Bygone Bridlington'Ginger lacey
Bygone Bridlington'Ginger lacey

FLYING gear once worn by a local Second World War fighter ace has been sold at auction for £1,600.

The goggles, helmet, breathing mask and other personal items belonged to Squadron Leader James ‘Ginger’ Lacey, when he shot down a German Heinkel 111 bomber which had just attacked Buckingham Palace.

Bygone Bridlington'Ginger Lacey

Bygone Bridlington'Ginger Lacey

Despite shooting down the aircraft, Squadron Leader Lacey, who lived on Bempton Lane in Flamborough, was forced to bail out of his Hurricane, damaging his goggles as he parachuted to safety.

Wetherby born Lacey destroyed 28 enemy aircraft during the war, 18 during the battle of Britain making him the third highest scoring RAF pilot of the war.

During the Second World War Ginger was shot down nine times and incredibly three of those occurred on one day.

After the war Ginger worked as a flying instructor at Grindale Air Field and even worked as technical advisor on the 1969 film Battle of Britain starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine.

His flying gear was sold by Johnson & Son auctioneers in Nottingham last month.

Local historian David Mooney said: “He lived in Flamborough and was quite a well known character.

“He was a proper Yorkshireman and a very modest man.”

“I met him at the Amy Johnson Festival at Sewerby Hall in 1980 and I got him to sign this picture of him getting into a Hurricane.”

Ginger Lacey started flying in 1937 at the age on 20 and was immediately mobilised at the outbreak of the Second World War, flying Spitfires from Gravesend with 501 Squadron.

Lacey was one of the very few pilots who were operational both on the day the war broke out and on the day it ended, serving in Burma against the Japanese at the cessation of hostilities.

Ginger Lacey died in 1989 aged 72 and a plaque of remembrance was unveiled in his memory in 2001 at Bridlington’s Priory Church.