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Solihull Battle of Britain ace is special guest at 75th birthday of the Spitfire

FORMER flying ace Ken Wilkinson was a special guest at an event to commemorate 75 years since the first flight of the Spitfire.

spitfire

FORMER flying ace Ken Wilkinson was a special guest at an event to commemorate 75 years since the first flight of the Spitfire.

Ex-RAF pilot Ken, from Solihull, was invited to take part in the anniversary event at RAF Cosford.

The 92-year-old flew the famous fighter during the Battle of Britain, when our air force battled against the German Luftwaffe.

On Saturday, he joined other veterans to talk about their wartime experiences.

Ken was just 22 when he completed his training, joining the 616 Squadron in August 1940.

One of “the few”, he helped defend the country against a much larger German airforce.

The great-grandfather-of-four has fond memories of flying the Spitfire, which was designed by the aeronautical engineer RJ Mitchell.

“It was always surprising you with the things it could do,” he said. “It was a wonderful aircraft – an absolute cracker.

“When in combat it could do a steep turn, flying vertically in stall with the whole aircraft juddering – it was never designed for that, but it could do it.

“And the thing was, the Germans would never admit to having been shot down by a Hurricane, but there was no shame for them in being shot down by a Spitfire.”

In Southampton, where the plane had its test flight, the world’s only female Spitfire pilot, Carolyn Grace, did a lap of the airfield.

A fly-by at RAF Cosford was also planned, but was called off due to bad weather.

Over half the Spitfires ever produced (some 12,000) were built in nearby Castle Bromwich.

 

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