Thirty Years Since The Death Of The Black Knight
Ormond Haydon-Baillie (“Oh-Bee” to his pals) visited my father a few times in Barbados, and although I have photos of a very small me sitting between the two of them, I don’t really remember the man. Mostly I remember the stories my father told in later years as we looked through the photo albums together.
“Fast and Low”
According to Dad, those were the two words that described OHB the best. Dad also called Haydon-Baillie a“stick and rudder man” – which was about the highest praise Dad ever bestowed upon any pilot. It meant that a pilot was a natural. I only heard him say it about one other man.
Haydon-Baillie died in Germany in a P-51 Mustang on July 3, 1977. I have never been able to discover the real cause of the crash. Some say torque roll got him, but from what Dad said I have a hard time believing that OHB would have put himself in that position. Especially considering that the Sea Fury was a far worse beast for torque roll than the Mustang and OHB had oodles of Sea Fury time. Dad always said that it had to have been “a mechanical” (fault).
Whatever happened on that day, there are many who remember the man and his airplanes. For those who remember the man, and those who appreciate it, here from Dad’s collection is a never-before-seen photo of OHB’s Sea Fury pulling up after a low and over at Duxford around 1975 or so. Dad did NOT have a long lense for this photo and it has not been cropped … (!)