“Michael Caine wanted to know what it was like to be an RAF pilot”

For John Preece and his fellow Battle of Britain film pilots, mixing with stars like Caine and Susannah York on set was a fascinating experience…

“Michael Caine wanted to know what it was like to be an RAF pilot”

“We used to drive around in cars that were 20 years old – RAF pilots weren’t terribly well paid in those days.” John Preece laughs as he recalls the reality of being a pilot in the 1960s – which was brought into sharper focus during filming on the Battle of Britain, and regularly bumping into Michael Caine in his brown Rolls-Royce.

“We were green with envy,” smiles Preece, who admitted that it was a shock for RAF pilots to suddenly be mixing with film stars and extras. “Michael Caine wanted to know quite a lot about what it was like to be an RAF officer and a pilot. Some of them would just go back to their trailers after filming but he would often like to have a chat.”

John would also get a shock during one day’s filming when it transpired that he had to step in to help Susannah York, as you’ll discover in the video below…