Veteran honoured for research on WWII Ipswich fighter pilot disaster

Nick Black, a graduate from the University of Suffolk, is being honoured in the annual Royal Air Force Museum Awards

Nick Black, a graduate from the University of Suffolk, is being honoured in the annual Royal Air Force Museum Awards - Credit: University of Suffolk

An army veteran and former police officer, who recently graduated with a history degree, is being honoured for his dissertation research about an RAF pilot shot down in friendly fire near Ipswich.

Nick Black graduated from the University of Suffolk with a degree in history at the end of last year after completing a forensic micro historical study on an incident which happened three days after Britain went to war with Germany.

An RAF fighter pilot was shot down and killed by his own side after being mistaken for an enemy aircraft. The aircraft crash landed just outside Ipswich.

Mr Black's dissertation studies a friendly-fire incident that occurred just three days war with Germany began in September...

Mr Black's dissertation studies a friendly-fire incident that occurred just three days war with Germany began in September 1936, and resulted in the death of an RAF pilot - Credit: University of Suffolk

For his work he has been named a recipient of the undergraduate prize in the annual Royal Air Force Museum Awards.

Nick said upon hearing the news he was both 'surprised and excited', and added: "My research uncovered some interesting new evidence that changed the commonly held narrative of the incident and shed light on its impact on procedures before the eventual victory in the Battle of Britain of 1940.

"The essay was praised by the review board for being well-written and thoroughly researched and presenting new and exciting evidence.

"To actually get that recognition and to receive feedback from such a prestigious organisation that my research had actually uncovered something exciting truly made the whole three year adventure of studying for my degree worthwhile.”  

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Dr John Greenacre, history lecturer and Nick’s dissertation supervisor, said: “I am very pleased for Nick as he put a great deal of hard work into his dissertation.

"His meticulous research and analysis have resulted in the definitive account of this little known but often disputed incident during the Second World War.” 

The subject will be presented at the RAF Museum in talks later in 2021.

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