Interview Topic – Last surviving member of 249 Squadron

For my oral history interview I am hoping to interview an ex RAF fighter pilot. At 99 years old he is the last surviving member of RAF 249 squadron.  This squadron fought in the Battle of Britain, which proved to be the most decisive battle of the war in ensuring that Great Britain was not invaded by Germany. According to historian A.J.P Taylor ‘it was as great and decisive as glorious as the battle of Trafalgar’.  Although the Battle of Britain has been historically well documented, I feel that to capture this pilot’s memories of his experiences and his thoughts orally of his part in this battle, could be an extremely valuable and unique piece of history

Through this interview I would like to explore not just his memories of events, but how he emotionally equipped himself for such a task. Like many other pilots during this time, he was young, only 26 years old in 1940.  I would like to understand what motivated him to go into battle; how did he overcome his nerves and how he felt about the great responsibility of his task?  However, there could be a risk that my interviewee would not be willing to allow me to explore his memories at that level.   Recognising that he was of a different generation, more stoic and less emotionally open than our generation of today, I would like to further investigate whether this inherent characteristic of his generation could have possibly played a part in preparing him to go to war and not just physically but emotionally surviving the war

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