Tributes to Stockton-born Battle of Britain fighter pilot - who was one of the last of the Few

Len Davies in a Hurricane in Malta in 1941

Len Davies in a Hurricane in Malta in 1941

First published in News
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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

A SECOND World War fighter pilot – who was one of the last of the Few – has died.

Stockton-born Len Davies was just 19 when he fought in the Battle of Britain and helped to prevent a much-feared German invasion.

A month after the battle began, Mr Davies was shot down over Kent.

But despite an injury to his leg and a large chunk of his Hurricane cockpit being blown off, rather than bail out he made a forced landing at Eastchurch aerodrome while the runway was being bombed.

The Northern Echo:
The wreckage of Len Davies' Hurricane after the crash

He was not out of action for long and soon headed to Malta where he found conditions even worse than the Battle of Britain.

The following year, his squadron was posted to an aircraft delivery unit flying aircraft all over North Africa, the Middle East, India and China.

In 1944, he was moved back to the UK as a transport captain, mainly on Dakotas.

After the war Mr Davies did an engineering degree at Durham University where in the first week he met his wife to be, Katie. The couple had two children, Philip and Janet.

Mr Davies later worked as an engineer for ICI and Alcoa in Teesside, Merseyside, Swansea and finally the Aylesbury area.

The couple settled in Rosedale Abbey and then Whitley Bay, before moving to Cardiff to be near their daughter.

The youngest of eight children, Mr Davies was brought up in Stanley Street, Norton.

He did well at school and gained a scholarship to Stockton Grammar School.

Despite his job being a reserved occupation, he volunteered to join the Auxiliary Air Force squadron based at Thornaby, calculating that when the war came he would have more control over his own destiny as a pilot.

Battle of Britain airmen were known as "the Few" after Winston Churchill said of their role: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Mr Davies’ friend Brian Outhwaite, who is writing a book about the Few who came from the North-East, said he would be sadly missed.

He said: “His stories and anecdotes kept me entertained for hours. What a pleasure it was to sit with Len and hear him talk of his life, not just in the Battle of Britain but also of his other adventures during the war."

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