Battle of Britain 'hero' dies on his 100th birthday

Archie McInnes joined the RAF in 1938

Friday, August 2, 2019

Battle of Britain veteran Archie McInnes has died just hours after celebrating his 100th birthday.

His biographer Jonny Cracknell said Flight Lieutenant McInnes was an “inspiration and hero of a man”.

He tweeted: “It is with a heavy heart and incredible sadness to advise the tragic news that Battle of Britain hero Archie McInnes sadly passed away last night, just hours after celebrating his 100th birthday amongst friends and family.”

Flt Lt McInnes joined the RAF volunteer reserve in 1938 and completed his pilot training in August 1940.

After the Battle of Britain ended he joined the HMS Victorious while it helped in the hunt for the German battleship the Bismarck.

He travelled to North Africa in April 1941 where he flew various missions including providing cover for British bombers.

He was shot down by a Messerschmitt fighter plane in October that year and lost his left arm.

Despite this setback he continued to serve with the RAF until 1946, and eventually retired to a village just outside Cambridge.

Flt Lt McInnes last took to the skies as a passenger in a two-seater Spitfire over Kent to celebrate his 99th birthday.

Those who fought in the Battle of Britain came to be known as “The Few” after a speech by Prime Minister Winston Churchill who said: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”.

There are now only five living Battle of Britain veterans.

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