Spitfire pilot admitted to the ranks of the Few

A single entry in a logbook has led to another Spitfire pilot being added to the ranks of the Few, the RAF crews who fought the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust has welcomed the news that Sgt James Eric Ballard of 610 (County of Chester) Squadron has been posthumously added to the list, 80 years after the aerial fighting that lifted the threat of a German invasion.

It follows the discovery of his logbook, which shows an operational sortie flown on October 8, 1940, a flight that was confirmed by the signatures of his commanding officer and flight commander. As the Battle of Britain is considered to have taken place between July 10 and October 31, 1940, the Air Historical Branch of the RAF has concluded that Sgt Ballard meets the criteria to be awarded the Battle of Britain Clasp to the 1939-45 Star.

He continued to serve with the unit but was killed in action, aged 23, on August 27, 1941. His body was not found and his name appears on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede near Egham, Surrey. Speaking on behalf of the Trust, Gp Capt Patrick Tootal OBE said: “It is rare to be able to add a new name to the list of those who took part, especially a Spitfire pilot. Sgt Ballard's contribution to the Battle was relatively small but without him and men like him the RAF could not have achieved its victory. Such was the desperate need for fighter pilots that he had only nine hours of flying time before joining his squadron.” www.battleofbritainmemorial.org

Sgt James Eric Ballard of the RAF’s 610 Squadron. WITH THANKS TO MALCOLM TRIGGS