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Société given book featuring pilots of the Battle of Britain

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A BOOK that tells the stories of the airmen, including Islanders, who fought in the Battle of Britain 77 years ago has been donated to the Société Jersiaise.

Geoff Simpson of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust yesterday handed over a copy of Men of the Battle of Britain – A Biographical Directory of the Few, watched by relatives of men whose bravery is recorded in its pages.

The trust looks after the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne in Kent and is dedicated to preserving the memory of the airmen who flew in the battle, which took place in the skies above south-east England from July to October 1940. They became known as 'The Few' after wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill praised their bravery.

The book by Kenneth G Wynn, which will be kept in the history society's library, where it can be read by the public, is regarded as the standard reference source for information about the 2,490 Allied airmen who served in the battle.

Société president Colin Perchard said: 'The book is a wonderful thing to receive, as it is a work of immense research and scholarship, and having a reference to the airmen who gave their lives for freedom and the Islands makes it a very special donation.'

Relatives of Battle veterans attended the handing-over ceremony, including Rosemary Sanchez de Vega, whose father, Frank Connor, was shot down and forced to parachute into the sea off the Isle of Wight in July 1940. He returned to the Island after the Second World War and worked as an air traffic controller at the Airport.

She said until she read a story in the JEP in the spring inviting Islanders with relatives who fought in the Battle of Britain to attend the handing-over ceremony, she was not aware of the book or the entry about her father.

She said: 'My father did not like to talk about what happened to him in the war but we have all his war records before he married my mother. They were married during the war and she kept a wartime diary, and I have handed copies of all that over the Geoff Simpson.'

Brothers Philip, Charles and Nickolas de Carteret, whose uncle Harold Fenton was a Squadron Leader during the battle, commanding 238 Squadron, a Hurricane unit, in June 1940, also attended and provided Mr Simpson with fresh information.

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