Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot dies at 99
LONDON — Ken Wilkinson, one of the last survivors of “The Few’’ — the band of pilots who flew in the Battle of Britain — has died. He was 99.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust said Wilkinson died Monday. The group said he was “a true gentleman who we shall miss dearly.’’
Born in 1918, Wilkinson flew a Spitfire fighter plane during the 1940 air battle between Britain and its allies and Nazi Germany.
Between July and October, German bombers pounded Britain’s ports, airfields and cities in a bid to destroy its defences in preparation for either an invasion or a surrender. France had already fallen to Adolf Hitler, and the British army had been evacuated in disarray from Dunkirk.
Royal Air Force crews, many in their teens or 20s, inflicted heavy losses on the Germans and prevented invasion, but at a high price. Of almost 3,000 British and Allied airmen who flew in the battle, more than 544 were killed.