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Anthony 'Tony' Lovell - a committed Christian who struggled with being a successful fighter ace

Anthony Desmond Joseph 'Tony' Lovell was born in Ceylon on 9th August 1919 and educated at Ampleforth College. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training course on 25th October 1937. He moved on to 6 FTS Netheravon on 6th January 1938.

In late 1938 Lovell joined 41 Squadron at Catterick. He went on a parachute course at Manston in March 1939. He was attached to SHQ Catterick from 41 Squadron on 22nd July 1939 for Ops duties and did not rejoin 41 until 20th November 1939.

Above: F/O JN McKenzie, F/O ADJ Lovell, S/Ldr. DO Finlay, F/Lt. EN Ryder, Sgt. RC Ford

Lovell shared in the destruction of a He111 east of Dover on 31st May 1940 and on 1st June he shared another over Dunkirk. On 8th July he shared a Ju88 SE of Scarborough.

In combat off Dover on the 28th July he was attacked by Major Molders of JG51 and crashed on landing at Manston. He was admitted to Margate Hospital, wounded in the thigh. His next sortie was made on 4th August. On the 15th Lovell claimed a Me110 destroyed and probably another. He was shot down over the Thames Estuary on 5th September and baled out, unhurt. His Spitfire, R6885, crashed and burned out in Kimberley Road, South Benfleet.

On the 5th Lovell was appointed temporary ‘B’ Flight Commander. On the 6th he destroyed a Me109; on the 15th destroyed another and probably a second; and on the 30th he damaged a Do17.

Lovell was confirmed in his appointment on 29th September and promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant on 1st October. He damaged a Me109 on 1st October; destroyed another on the 20th; damaged another on the 30th; destroyed another on 17th November; and destroyed one and shared another on the 27th.

Lovell was awarded the DFC (gazetted 26th November 1940).

Lovell returned to the UK in June 1945 but was killed on 17th August when he crashed into a field adjoining Old Sarum aerodrome. He took off in Spitfire XII EN234 and after raising the undercarriage performed a slow roll to the right at 100 feet. Entering a second roll to the right the Spitfire lost height, went through some power wires and disintegrated after the right wing tip struck the ground.

He was 26 and is buried near his home in Portrush Cemetery, County Antrim.

His portrait was made by Cuthbert Orde (see below)

January 2019 - another Orde image, dated five days later than the image above, has come to light (below), the circumstances are currently unknown.

Image below courtesy of Giles (Lovell-Webster-) Browne.

Lovell had a brother, F/Lt. SJ Lovell, who died on 29th January 1944 aged 27. He was killed whilst flying in Typhoon IB MM970 of 183 Squadron which was shot down by flak during a Rodeo to Guipavas airfield.

He is buried in Brest (Kerfautras) Cemetery.

Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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