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Five Battle of Britain heroes are to be remembered tomorrow
FIVE Battle of Britain heroes are to be remembered with a special service and Spitfire flypast tomorrow.
Flying Officer Jeffrey Quill OBE, Air Vice Marshal Stanley Vincent and squadron leaders John Sample, Jefferson Wedgwood and Robert Woodward, all played their part in the crucial battle of the skies in 1940 – described by Winston Churchill as our “finest hour”.
Lancing College, where all five were educated, will host the commemoration event.
At 11am there will be a service conducted by Father Richard Harrison in the college’s Grade I listed chapel.
This will be followed by a Spitfire flypast at 11.45am before the headmaster Jonathan Gillespie unveils a memorial plaque in the War Memorial Cloister.
Sample, Wedgwood and Woodward all died during the Second World War. Quill and Vincent survived the war but have since died.
Family members of the pilots will attend along with John Pulfer, managing director of the Battle of Britain Historical Society.
Jeffrey Quill is perhaps the best known of the five, having gained the nickname Mr Spitfire.
He joined the RAF after finishing at the college in 1931 and was the chief test pilot of the Vickers Supermarine Spitfire.
His work not only helped develop the iconic plane to win the battle of the skies over southern England, but he was also behind the modifications to ensure the machine could land on aircraft carriers.
In the midst of the Battle of Britain he was released from his duties as test pilot to fly with 65 Squadron based at RAF Hornchurch where he was involved in a number of dogfights.
Air Vice Marshal Stanley Vincent, meanwhile, was group captain at RAF Northolt, in London, during the Battle of Britain.
Unusually for someone of his rank, he took to flying with his squadron during missions.
He also went out on dangerous lone sorties during which he is said to have shot down at least half a dozen enemy planes.
Squadron leader Jefferson Wedgwood was based at RAF Kenley, in London, and was said to have shot down at least half a dozen German planes.
Squadron leader John Sample is also said to have shot down half a dozen fighters while squadron leader Robert Woodward shot down at least three before he was shot down himself.
He bailed out and parachuted to safety.
Flying Officer Jeffrey Quill was given the Air Force Cross for his actions during the war while the other four all received the Distinguished Flying Cross.
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