John "Cat Eyes" Cunningham scored his nickname for being the RAF’s most successful night fighter pilot - a man whose razor sharp vision could pick out Nazi bombers in the charcoal skies above Britain in a heartbeat.

He famously destroyed one bomber without firing a single shot after he daringly dived down through cloud at great speed and drove the enemy aircraft into the ground.

At the war’s conclusion in 1945, the highly-decorated Cunningham was the RAF’s top-scoring night fighter with 20 kills. He continued to fly in peacetime and in July 1949 made the maiden test flight in the brand new de Havilland Comet, the world’s first passenger jet, landing at Essendon Airport to the thrill of the local audience.

The secret to his deadly accuracy over the years? Carrots.

Cunningham swore at a press conference on his arrival at Essendon Airport that the humble garden root vegetable was what kept his sight in tip top form – in turn convincing generations of children to eat their vegetables.

It has since been revealed that Captain Cunningham’s ability to see enemy planes at night was more likely down to top secret radar technology that he was one of the first to trial rather than carrots.

But the myth was eagerly snapped up by war time health ministers and has stuck around ever since!



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