• See The Victor issue 475 (28th March 1970) to issue 489 (4th July 1970).
  • see also Victor Summer Special 1969. (Story in full colour). One Flight Wonder, The (featuring Airman Ted Evans).

    Writer:- The Victor Editorial team?

      Artist:- Keith Shone.

    Main cast:- Sergeant Ted Evans, Airman Foxy Sharpe, Airman Harry Cleaves, Warrant Officer Kirby, Major Schiller a German Officer.

    Time period:- El Serbah, R.A.F. airfield, Western Desert, Africa, Second World War, 1939 to 1945.

    The brylcreem boys as the pilots of the Royal Air Force (RAF), were known during the Second World War were at the sharp end of any conflict. (Brylcreem is a type of hair gel). But without the support of the ground crews and other units on the ground, the pilots would never have got into the air. The ground crews put in many long hours, working in cold and hot climates, in order to keep the planes operational. This Victor strip looks at the role of one ground crew operating in North Africa, The-Bring-‘em-Back Boys.

    Sergeant Evans is a mechanic based at an Royal Air Force (R.A.F.) base in Africa's Western Desert, who job is to keep the fighters flying. But that's difficult to do when there are no replacement parts available. But the Squadron Leader has a bright idea. Why not salavage any spare parts from other fighters that have been shot down over Allied lines and are littering the desert? Evans readily agrees and is allocated two men, Harry Cleaves and Foxy Sharpe to assist him. Both men being regarded as layabouts. Evans and his men set of to locate a damaged Tomahawk fighter. The retrieval of spares is not easy, mainly because the plane is a burning wreck.

    So instead the party head behind Italian lines to retrieve any spare parts from another crash landed Tomahawk. Needless to say they run into trouble, their lorry is shot up, they tangle with a party of Germans and Italians, but they win through in the end. Mainly because the Italians all surrender! Evans and his men arrive back at the R.A.F. airbase with two trucks, an armoured car and a Queen Mary transporter, ('an articulated "semi" trailer used to transport aircraft or aircraft parts by ground to Maintenance Units for service or refurbishment'). Please see the image below. Artwork by keith Shone.

    A Queen Mary trailer. © Adrian Banfield.

    A picture of a Queen Mary transporter. Picture taken at the Duxford Air Museum, Cambridgeshire.

    The C.O. is impressed by Evans efforts in obtaining the necessary spares and is tasked with continuing the patrol. The patrol gets bigger with more vehicles and men being provided to assist in the retrieval of planes. Warratt Officer Kirby isn’t impressed however. He thinks Evans and his men are avoiding proper work and are spending their time on a jolly, gallivanting around the desert. So Kirby joins Evans on a patrol. This story is below.

    The story below is from issue 478 and Senior Warrant Officer Kirby is leading his first plane recovery patrol, much to Sergeant Evan's consternation!

    Artist Keith Shone. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Keith Shone. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Keith Shone. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd

    Each week Evans and his patrol set out to retrieve a damaged plane, battling their way through various difficulties and tackling any Germans or Italians who get in their way. (One week’s story involves Evans going on leave and joining an independent Desert strike force patrol). One German the patrol run into a couple of times is a Major Schillor. They manage to escape complete with a plane on each occasion. On their second meeting, Evans fires an artillery gun from the back of a moving truck and destroys the pursuing Schillor’s pursuing armoured car! It’s unclear if Major Schillor dies in the explosion that follows.

    This is a more light-hearted strip than say The Blazing Ace of Space, with humour unexpectingly cropping up every now and then. The artwork is by the ever dependable Keith Shone, who seems to have cornered the market as far as the drawing of R.A.F. strips goes. The main characters are likeable, Evans, the Sergeant being a hard task-master and Cleaves and Sharpe who have been labelled as lazy, are in fact reliable and are more than happy to fight the Germans when the going gets tough. The second story is from issue 480. Sergeant Evans and his men are on the trail of some particularly ruthless Nazi soldiers.

    Artist Keith Shone. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Keith Shone. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd Artist Keith Shone. © D.C. Thomson Co. Ltd

    © Adrian Banfield, 2008.