Bill Simmond

Running time
3 min 36 sec

Bill Simmond, a fighter pilot, describes shooting down an enemy aircraft.

"On the day in question I was flying one of 16 aircraft from 77 Squadron and we were operating in the general area of Pyongyang which is the North Korean capital. At the time there were probably 30 or 40 US airforce Sabres engaging probably an equal number of MiG-15s.

Our formation was flying probably several thousand feet below the Americans and the first indication I had of any real danger was when I observed three distinct lines of tracer ammunition going over my left wing. Instinctively I pulled away from these bullets by simply going into a hard right turn. I'd hardly begun the turn when I observed a MiG-15 fly straight underneath me. My immediate impression was that this was too good an opportunity to miss so I reversed and started to follow him and I accelerated at the same time. When he was probably a couple of hundred yards in front I started firing and although I was still accelerating he was moving away from me. Finally some of the bullets obviously hit his aircraft because there was a large plume of smoke was emitted from around the fuselage area. And the next thing I saw was his aircraft pitch up, obviously out of control, and as I was aware that there were other MiGs in the area I rolled to the left, into a hard turn just to ensure that there was nobody behind me. And as I went into the turn the flight leader observed the pilot of the MiG to bail out. He ejected, the parachute deployed and presumably he landed safely. Meanwhile we, our section of four aircraft, regrouped and we continued flying there for another 10 or 15 minutes before we redeployed, flew back to base.

The whole thing took maybe 30 seconds but that's the nature of air combat these days. Long, sort of drawn out dogfighting, that was relegated to World War Two really. With jet aircraft using so much fuel you've got to get into it and out of it in a hurry otherwise you won't have enough fuel to get home."

Find out more about 77 Squadron and MiGs v Meteors.

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