One Foot on the Ground

Squadron Leader Douglas Benjamin Fletcher Nicholls, D.F.C. A.E


Doug Nicholls was a fighter pilot with the Royal Air Force across several theatres of war during World War Two, including the Battle of Britain, Sumatra, Ceylon and Burma.

With a fascinating story to tell he was often asked by his family to put his experiences down in writing. This he never did…..or so his family thought.

After Doug died in 2014, aged 95, his son Chris Nicholls acquired a box full of cuttings, photo albums and assorted memorabilia from World War 2, along with letters, papers and several Amstrad disks. Chris sent these off and they were found to contain the basis of his father’s autobiography, which he had called ‘One Foot on the Ground’.

After a great deal of work collating the various experiences of his flying career, the finished book gives a first-hand account of Doug’s initial pilot training and subsequent wartime experiences from shooting down a JU 88 over the North Sea to baling out of his Hurricane over the dense jungle of Sumatra.

Doug undertook some of his initial pilot training at RAF Montrose and in later years acted as an Air Cadet Instructor in Lincolnshire, helping many cadets in their first flights in Slingsby gliders. Indeed, Chris Nicholls also had his first flight in a Slingsby.

Chris is delighted to make his father’s book available for download completely free, however would encourage anyone wishing to do so to make a small donation to the current appeal for funding by Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre. Chris has specifically asked me to record his gratitude for the huge amount of work the Centre has put into bringing this book to life noting “without their help, this book would still be a pile of neglected papers siting in a dusty plastic box” and that his father would have been delighted by this Grasshopper appeal.

Please download and enjoy……we would be delighted to hear your feedback and comments.

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