Friday, September 07, 2018

Fullbore Friday

So, what did you do before age 21?
Tributes have poured in for the Second World War's youngest Spitfire pilot who joined the RAF at just 18 and has died just two weeks before his 97th birthday.

Geoffrey Wellum, who was given the nickname 'Boy' as he signed up in August 1939, famously said his life 'peaked' at 21 after helping the RAF saw off Hitler's Luftwaffe in 1940.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust today revealed Mr Wellum, one of just eight surviving members, died at his home in Cornwall on Wednesday evening.
Things go quickly when a nation is at war.
Showing no fear despite the average four-week life expectancy of war pilots, he was sent up to fight the Nazis in his teens and described how ahead of his first air battle he was told to jump in his Spitfire and warned: 'Break it there will be bloody hell to pay'.

He would later become a squadron leader and served on the front line including the Battle of Britain 'dogfights' above London and the Home Counties before taking the fight into Europe where he led the air battle to free Malta.

But on the way to victory he lost many of his closest comrades from the RAF and said recently: 'You just had to accept it, get on with living and remember absent friends'.

He went on to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and was promoted to Flight Commander with 65 Squadron and later led eight Spitfires from HMS Furious to relieve Malta.
Read the whole thing.

What a life, and a meaningful life well lived.


Hat tip M.R.

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