Battle Of Britain Pilot Dubbed ‘the Finest Of The Few’ Has Died Aged 97

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A BATTLE of Britain pilot dubbed “the finest of The Few” has died at the age of 97.

Wing Commander Tom “Ginger” Neil was the last surviving fighter ace whose tally of kills during World War Two ran into double figures.

PA:Press Association Wing Commander Tom ‘Ginger’ Neil was the last surviving fighter ace whose tally of kills during World War Two ran into double figures

He was officially credited with shooting down 14 German planes – including four in one day at the height of the Battle of Britain.

But the Hurricane pilot, who was just 20 when he fought to stop Hitler invading the UK, always believed his true tally of kills was 17.

Ginger dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot after reading Biggles stories as a choirboy in Liverpool, and joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1938.

Two years later, as a pilot officer, he was posted to 249 Squadron, flying from North Weald airfield in Essex.

PA:Press Association In the 16 weeks of the Battle of Britain, ‘Ginger’ took off 157 times and only parachuted once, when the rear section of his Hurricane was knocked off in a mid-air collision

He shot down his first enemy plane – a Messerschmitt 109 protecting German bombers on their way to blitz East London.

In the 16 weeks of the Battle of Britain, he took off 157 times and only parachuted once, when the rear section of his Hurricane was knocked off in a mid-air collision with another RAF fighter over Maidstone, Kent.

The dad of three, of Thwaite St Mary, Norfolk, won the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He died on Wednesday, the day after the RAF’s Centenary Fly Past  and three days before his 98th birthday. Fewer than ten of The Few are still alive.

‘Ginger’ died on Wednesday, the day after the RAF’s Centenary Fly Past GOT a story? RING on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL exclusive@the-sun.co.uk




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