“Reality was exceeding my wildest dreams”

Being involved in the Battle of Britain filming generated all sorts of emotions, and so it was for a member of the engineering team, tasked first with returning Spitfires to flight and then keeping them ‘on the line’

Prior to application of squadron codes, the Battle of Britain fleet — here, three Hurricanes and 10 Spitfires — is arrayed for the press at Henlow on 19 April 1968.

In the world of historic aviation, as in any industry, names come and go. Many of the individual preservation pioneers are long gone, and the companies wound up. Yet they deserve to be remembered, for so much stemmed from them, and their influence remains longlasting. Few, for instance, recall Simpson’s Aeroservices, yet this Elstree-based company and its founder were key to some of Britain’s earliest privately owned ex-military aircraft operations. When the Battle of Britain film came to be made in 1968, their involvement was virtually a self-evident choice.

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