Who Was Sandy Gunn?
Photo Reconnaissance Pilot
Sandy Gunn was born in Auchterarder in Scotland on the 27th September 1919, educated in Edinburgh he began training to become a diesel power plant engineer in Glasgow and then at Pembroke College, Cambridge. At the start of the Second World War, Sandy volunteered to join the Royal Air Force and trained as a maritime patrol pilot before being posted to the Photo Reconnaissance Unit in 1941. After learning to fly the Spitfire, Sandy was posted to northern Scotland tasked with searching Norway for the location of the infamous battleship Tirpitz in highly modified, unarmed Spitfires. It was on one such mission that Sandy was shot down by two German fighter pilots, he jumped by parachute from the burning plane whilst his Spitfire - AA810 - crashed into the Norwegian mountainside below.
Sandy’s war however was not to end there. Interred in the famous Stalag Luft III camp at Sagan, Sandy and his colleagues constructed an ingenious feat of engineering, tunnelling out of the camp deep underground.
Unfortunately, his escape was sadly short-lived and less than two weeks later Sandy, aged just 24 years, was executed by an unknown Gestapo Officer.
Sandy never completed his engineering training. He never returned home to Scotland. On 27th September 2019, Sandy’s 100th birthday, the AA810 project launched the Sandy Gunn ACP - a program designed to help inspire, advise, and assist young people into Engineering careers and, in particular, those careers that support the Aerospace Industry with its multitude of facets.