Hero Battle of Britain pilot dies aged 101

9 December 2019, 07:18

Maurice Mounsdon bailed out of his aircraft but had never used a parachute before
Maurice Mounsdon bailed out of his aircraft but had never used a parachute before. Picture: Maurice Mounsdon/RAF
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

One of the last surviving Battle of Britain pilots has died, known as The Few they defended the country during the Second World War.

Flight Lieutenant Maurice Mounsdon died on Friday aged 101, family members said.

"He was a great man and will be missed by his nephews and nieces," nephew Adrian Mounsdon told the Daily Mirror.

Flt Lt Mounsdon's passing leaves only three remaining members of The Few, the 3,000 airmen who fought off the Luftwaffe in the skies above southern England over three-and-a-half months in 1940.

The surviving trio is Flt Lt William Clark, 100, Wing Commander Paul Farnes, 101, and Flying Officer John Hemingway, 100.

Maurice Mounsdon stood in front of his Hurricane aircraft
Maurice Mounsdon stood in front of his Hurricane aircraft. Picture: Maurice Mounsdon

Flt Lt Mounsdon was a pilot with 56 Squadron, and had shot down four enemy aircraft in dogfights when his Hawker Hurricane was hit by a cannon shell from a Messerschmitt 109 while over Colchester.

Despite severe burns to his arms and legs, Maurice was able to flip his plane and bailout.

Speaking to reporters in 2018 he said: “I was on fire. There was only one thing to do and that was to get out as fast as possible.

“I was badly burned, but I rolled the aircraft over and came down by ­parachute from 14,000ft.

“I was conscious all the time. It was the first time I’d used a parachute. I think I was jolly lucky, in a way.”

Mr Mounsdon was honoured on his 100th birthday in September last year with a flyover by the Red Arrows off the coast of the Spanish island of Menorca, where he had lived since the late 1970s since retiring there with his wife Mary, who died in 1993.

The Battle of Britain claimed the lives of 544 RAF pilots and aircrew.

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