A Spitfire pilot, who was one of the last surviving from the Battle of Britain, has died aged 99.
Ken Wilkinson, from Solihull in the West Midlands, was selected for the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of war and chosen to fly the infamous plane, the ‘Spitfire’.
Mr Wilkinson went on to become a chartered surveyor after his successful time in the RAF.
The Battle of Britain Memorial trust (BBMT), revealed that Ken was among those famously dubbed ‘The Few’ by Winston Churchill.
They described Ken as:
A true gentleman who we shall miss dearly.
Born in Cumbria, Mr Wilkinson was the son of an aircraft manufacturer and is said to have found his love for flying while watching aircraft tests at Farnborough.
Upon joining the Royal Air Force, he was assigned to 6161 and 19 squadrons in East Anglia and was among the airmen who’s role was to protect the country’s industrial targets within the Midlands from the Luftwaffe, reports the BBC.
In 2015, Mr Wilkinson was interviewed for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors revealing:
I didn’t carry any lucky charms, but I did wear a pair of my wife’s knickers around my neck.
I was one of the lucky ones. I saw friends fall out of the sky, aircrafts go up in flames … terrible things.
That year, Mr Wilkinson also met the Duke of Cambridge – during celebrations for the centenary of 29 (Reserve) Squadron at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and said:
I was under instruction not to tell dirty stories.
Mr Wilkinson told the BBC he had also given the Duke a ticking-off for his choice of aircraft, saying:
He doesn’t fly proper aeroplanes – he flies choppers.
Mr Wilkinson is survived by his daughter, Penny, and grandson, Piers.
A true hero, RIP Ken.