Old 09-16-2020, 12:23 AM
  #8583  
Telemaster Sales UK
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerInOKC View Post
Prettiest music I ever heard!
The Sound of Freedom!

According to Steven Bishop's book, "Fighter Boys," 2917 men flew in the Battle of Britain. 2334 were British so 583 were from other countries.

11 were from the USA. Of these at least one paid the supreme sacrifice. His name was William Meade Fiske, known as Billy. He was the son of an international banker from Chicago who had gone to Cambridge University and married an Englishwoman, the former wife of the Earl of Warwick! He had joined the RAF two weeks after war was declared, technically an act of treason in the USA, which probably explains why the Americans wore ordinary RAF uniforms without a shoulder tab denoting the country they came from. Air crew from Canada, New Zealand and Poland for example wore tunics with the name of their homeland on the shoulder; of course the USA was not at war in 1940 so that may explain it. Fiske was posted to 601 Squadron on 10th July 1940. This squadron's pilots largely came from priviledged backgrounds and included several of Fiske's friends, indeed it was known informally as "The Millionaires' Squadron" and they sported blue ties instead of the regulation black ! The squadron had recently converted from Blenheims to Hurricanes and although Fiske was an experienced pilot, he had never flown a Hurricane before arriving at the squadron. He was shot down on 16th August but managed to land on the aerodrome suffering from superficial burns to the hands and face. He was visited in hospital by the adjutant the following day who reported that he was "As perky as hell!" The following day he was dead. Shock? There is a plaque to him in St Paul's Cathedral in London.

Of the 2917 men who had fought in Fighter Command in the summer of 1940, 544 were killed in the Battle of Britain, just under 19%. A further 795 died before the war was over, so about 46% of those young men who sprang into the cockpits of their fighters during the Battle of Britain, never lived long enough to see peace. Lest we foreget.

Oh and statistically of the eleven American pilots who flew in the Battle of Britain, at least one other American pilot would have been killed that summer and perhaps another four would have been dead before the war was over.

Last edited by Telemaster Sales UK; 09-16-2020 at 11:05 AM.