/Battle of Britain ace fighter pilot dies aged 101

Battle of Britain ace fighter pilot dies aged 101

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Media captionWhat it was like to fly in the Battle of Britain

The last surviving Battle of Britain ace pilot from World War Two has died aged 101.

Wing Cdr Paul Farnes was among the 3,000 airmen – The Few – who defended England’s skies in 1940.

He died at his home in Hampshire on Tuesday morning, the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust said.

Paying tribute, it described him as a “distinguished man – who was generous with his time in support of the trust”.

His battle victories made Wing Cdr Farnes an ace, a term taken to mean any fighter pilot credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft.

His tally was six enemy aircraft destroyed, one probably destroyed and six damaged, the trust said.

There are now thought to be only two surviving members of The Few – Flight Lieutenant William Clark and Flying Officer John Hemingway, both aged 100.

The trust added Wing Cdr Farnes was the last member of The Few fit enough to be able to attend the aerial conflict’s memorial day in 2019.

It said he had “proudly” represented his RAF colleagues at the service of commemoration just a week before his 101st birthday, in July.

The trust said Wing Cdr Farnes was “very proud” of his Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), which he received for his exploits in the Battle of Britain.

In 2015, the then retired Sqn Ldr described the “moving” moment he and his comrades were spontaneously applauded during a service at Westminster Abbey to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

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Battle of Britain Memorial Trust

Image caption

Wing Cdr Farnes at memorial day at Capel-le-Ferne, Folkestone

Mr Farnes, who flew a Hurricane during the war, said: “It was very emotional today because, when we walked out of the abbey, the audience applauded and it’s never happened before at the annual service and I was very moved by it.

“It is amazing that the Battle of Britain has caught on with the public and I am very proud to have been a part of it.”

Mr Farnes joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1938, later joining RAF No 501 Squadron and fighting in the Battle of France in 1940.

After the Battle of Britain, he was commissioned as an officer and served as an instructor and fought in Malta with No 229 Squadron as well as serving in North Africa and Iraq.

As World War Two ended, he was in command of two squadrons in the UK.

Remaining in the RAF until 1958 when, having been appointed Sqn Ldr, he retired, retaining the rank of Wing Cdr.

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