Last of the Few

The Battle of Britain in the words of the pilots who won it

(Adrian Pingstone)

Pilot Officer Bob Doe: 234 and 238 Squadron


I had two half-hour trips in the Hurricane, learning to fly it, and went into action….

On 10 October we were scrambled, Hurricanes against high-flying 109s, on a day when there was a solid cloud from about 4,000 up to 20,000 feet. Once in the cloud, I lost everyone. As I broke the cloud, I was hit from behind and in front. The first thing I knew, a spark came over my right shoulder into the dashboard. Then I heard a thump underneath my bottom, and a cannon shell hit my right foot and cut the Achilles tendon. I was hit in my left shoulder, which was like the blow from a sledgehammer, and I was also hit in the hand….

I realized I was still alive and that I ought to get out quickly…. I landed on my bottom and was knocked out. When I came to, I was in the middle of a quagmire on Brownsea Island with an Irishman standing over me with an iron bar saying, “What are you?” For me the Battle of Britain was over. I was twenty years old and had fourteen confirmed kills to my credit.

Pictured: A Hawker Hurricane going down over Britain, presumably during the Battle of Britain.


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