Vic Reeves cartoon strip promotes Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum

By Richard Moss | 08 September 2010
a cartoon strip with two panels depicting a pilot and bi-plane
© Kent Museums
TV comedian, artist and self confessed Airfix-a-holic Vic Reeves has produced a rousing cartoon strip after a poignant encounter with an airman's wristwatch at the Spitfire and Hurricane Museum Memorial Museum in Kent.

The star of Shooting Stars visited the attraction as part of a programme to get more people through the doors of museums in the county. The scheme, called Kentish Delights, will see museum exhibits touring to unlikely venues such as supermarkets, football clubs, cinemas and pubs in a bid to encourage new visitors.

a comic strip with panels showing Spitfires and Fairey Swordfishes
© Kent Museums
Reeves' cartoon, which will be part of the tour of objects, tells the story behind the watch that belonged to Mac Samples, an RAF Flight Observer shot down during a courageous attack on German battleships in World War Two.

Samples and his comrades took off from RAF Manston on February 12 1942 in four Fairey Swordfish torpedo bi-planes. Most were shot down during the raid and Samples' wristwatch still displays the time 12.51pm – the moment his plane crashed into the English Channel. Luckily both Samples and his pilot survived and were rescued by a Dover based Motor Torpedo Boat.

Over the next few months, residents of Kent will be able to see the cartoon as it goes on tour together with ancient, rare and beautiful artefacts selected from a variety of Kent museums.

a comic stip with three panels showing a pilot and biplanes
© Kent Museums
"Vic Reeves is a massive Spitfire fan, so when we were doing this project we thought we'd get him to walk around the Spitfire and Hurricane Museum and choose objects that interested him," said Jo Wiltcher, Manager at Tunbridge Wells Museum.

"Vic was taken with the watch, which people can see in the museum, and his cartoon flags up the story behind it."

Indulging in a bit of boy's own fantasy, Reeves also cast himself as one of the pilots in the comic strip. "If you read his autobiography you'll know he spent his childhood making Airfix kits," added Wiltcher.

a comic strip with panels showing a watch, a pliot and a bi-plane ditched in the sea
© Kent Museums
As well as producing the comic strip for the tour, Reeves chose a silk escape map – part of the pilot's kit sewn in the jacket liner to help navigate safe passage through enemy territory, together with a silver cigarette case engraved by a pilot and a packet of cigarettes from the NAAFI.

The cartoon and all three objects can be seen on the Kentish Delights Tour, which begins on September 9 2010.

See www.kentishdelights.co.uk (live from September 9 2010) for more information. 
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