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Battle of Britain pilot William Walker passes away

Battle of Britain pilot William Walker passes away

BATTLE of Britain pilot William Walker, who was the oldest surviving member of The Few, has passed away. He was 99.

It was as a 27-year-old Flight Lieutenant that Mr. Walker had flown his Spitfire in late 1940 in what was to become known as The Battle of Britain — which saw an outnumbered RAF take on and defeat the might of the German air force.

On August 24, Flt. Lt. Walker was in action over the Dover area where RAF fighters had been scrambled to confront a large force of bombers and fighters. During the battle Mr. Walker’s Spitfire was attacked by a Masserschmitt Bf 109, his controls were badly damaged and he was shot in the ankle, forcing him to bale out over the Channel.

He came down close to the Goodwin Sands and was able to cling to a shipwreck until the crew of a fishing boat came to the rescue. He was then transferred to an RAF launch which took him ashore.

Mr. Walker recalled that as the doctors worked on his injured ankle the bullet shot out the wound and hit the ceiling of the operating theatre. He was to keep the bullet as a souvenir.

In later life Mr. Walker wrote poetry, some of which reflected his wartime experiences. He donated the proceeds from a book of his poems to the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, as part of fund-raising efforts for the visitor centre to be built at the National Memorial to The Few at Capel-le-Ferne near Dover.

One of his poems, Our Wall, was inspired by the memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, (see below).

To hear Mr. Walker read his poem, Our Wall, click here.

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