Hazel Grove author is flying the flag for the RAF
AN author who specialises in military history has published a new book to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
A History of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, by Hazel Grove writer Geoff Simpson, focuses on the organisation set up to provide welfare to veterans and widows after the Second World War.
The association was formed in 1958 by airmen awarded the 1939-45 Star with a Battle of Britain clasp for their heroics during the campaign from July to September 1940.
There are now only around 30 members of the association still alive.
Its work also includes reunions, researching entitlement to the clasp and playing an important role in the Battle of Britain service at Westminster Abbey every September.
Geoff’s history of the association is the latest of several books and booklets he has written on the RAF, including a Dictionary of the Battle of Britain and A Dictionary of Bomber Command.
The 68-year-old writer was invited by the association to use its archives and they form the basis of his book which contains many previously unpublished accounts and photographs.
He said: “The book is a history of the Fighter Association and a commemoration of the Battle of Britain but it also includes the national memorial in Kent and the history of the Battle of Britain clasp.
“It covers the informal meetings of Allied airmen after the end of the war, the starting up of the association in 1958 and what’s happened to it since.
“The main thing is they meet every September 15 which is recognised as Battle of Britain Day as it marks the anniversary of the major day of fighting.
“Members hold a reunion at the RAF chapel in Westminster Abbey to pay tribute to Lord Dowding, who led the fighter command at the Battle of Britain.
“It’s about meeting up to remember what was achieved.
“It was difficult to do anything in the Second World War without aerial superiority and the German airforce was tasked with stopping RAF fighter command’s ability to intervene.
“They didn’t manage to do that, and that’s how the Battle of Britain was won.”
Geoff is also a trustee of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.
A Hurricane LF363 and Spitfire P7350 (main picture) and (inset) the new book cover