Letter: Spitfires at 16

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The Independent Online
Spitfires at 16

Sir: Clare Garner writes on young boys who volunteered under age for service during the 1914-18 war (report, 11 November). This also happened during the 1939-45 war.

I served as a fighter pilot flying Spitfires during 1944-45. We had several pilots who were only 18 or 19, and, taking into account the time it took to train a pilot, they must have enlisted when they were 17, or 16 in some cases.

On VE Day we had one who was a flight commander at 19. He was one of the "old hands" of the squadron, having been on "Ops" for about 15 months and been decorated. The Guinness Book of Records reveals an RAF pilot flying Spitfires on "Ops" at the age of 16. I am sure there were many more


Reading, Berkshire