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Thread: I know, I know. They are everywhere, but I bought one anyway.

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  1. #1
    (M1 Garand/M14/M1A Rifles)
    Bob Womack's Avatar
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    I know, I know. They are everywhere, but I bought one anyway.

    I've been watching these for years looking for a deal and I finally found one. We are talking about the Sperry Mk.1B artificial horizons removed from Britishicon military aircraft and made into book stands in 1986 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the first flight of the Supermarine Spitfire.

    These were the top-central instrument in the standard blind-flying instrument cluster on every military plane from the period. Here's one in a Spitfire.

    Someone somewhere must have bought every Mk.1B removed from every British military plane before 1960 as a lot, and they've marketed them as "Supermarine Spitfire Gyro Horizon" ever since they attached the slabs of wood. At this point I think I've seen enough examples to have populated the control panel of every Hurricane and Spitfire made by Britain, Germanyicon, Japanicon, Italyicon, and Yugoslaviaicon. (joke)

    Anyway, I came across one of these for pocket change and snapped it up. Total cost $15. Why? To remember my uncle. When he saw WWII brewing up in Europe, my uncle Harry, a boy from Johnson City, Tennessee, USAicon, ran across the border to Canadaicon, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, and trained to become a pilot. After primary, advanced, and fighter tactics training in Canada he was posted to RAF Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales, and transitioned into the Spitfire. As he neared completion of his training we applied to the RAF Eagle squadrons. Before he could be posted, he and a trainee were involved in an accident and were killed. I've always felt an affinity for him and wanted something around the house to remind me of him. Now I've got it. A 1943-dated artificial horizon from some British military plane. I'd love to have some piece of a Spitfire but this is pretty okay. Yes, it dates from two years after he died. No, it probably didn't see the inside of a Spit. But it is a wartime instrument nevertheless. The sort that was on the Spit blind-flying clusters he stared into.

    "It is said, 'Go not to the elves for counsel for they will say both no and yes.' "

    Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion, The Fellowship of the Ring

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  4. #2
    Contributing Member 22SqnRAE's Avatar
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    Excellent story. It means a lot to you and that makes it all worthwhile with your uncle's connection. That'll do me.
    Trying to save Service history, one rifle at a time...

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