Spitfire and Hurricane Pilots recall the Battle of Britain

RAF Fighter Command veterans of the Battle of Britain recall the momentous aerial combats of the summer of 1940

No 249 Squadron pilots with one of the unit’s Hurricane Is at North Weald on 21 September 1940. From left to right, Plt Off Percy Burton, Flt Lt ‘Butch’ Barton, Fg Off Albert Lewis, Plt Off T. Crossley, Plt Off Tom Neil, Plt Off John Beazley, commanding officer Sqn Ldr John Grandy, Flt Lt George Barclay and Plt Off Keith Lofts.

As every year passes, so the ranks of ‘the Few’, as immortalised by Winston Churchill in the House of Commons on 20 August 1940, are further diminished. Today there are just eight survivors of the 2,927 aircrew members who qualified for the Battle of Britain clasp to the 1939-45 Star by virtue of flying at least one operational sortie with a squadron assigned to RAF Fighter Command between 10 July and 31 October 1940. Chances to hear their first-hand testimony are, therefore, ever more to be valued.

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