Battle of Britain and Battle of France


Sir, – Your article on Battle of Britain fighter pilot John Hemingway was fascinating (“Battle of Britain pilot at 100: ‘The only advice I can give to people is be Irish’”, News, July 17th).

However, he is not, as stated in the piece, the only one of the known survivors of that conflict who also fought in the Battle of France.

Wing Commander Paul Farnes DFM, who this week celebrated his 101st birthday, also served in France before going on to become an ace in the Battle of Britain, flying Hurricanes.

Remarkably for a centenarian, Wing Cdr Farnes attended the annual Memorial Day held by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust at Capel-le-Ferne in Kent earlier this month, and was in fine form.

Wing Cdr Farnes joined the 501 Squadron at Filton on September 14th, 1939, and flew with the squadron to Betheniville in France on May 10th, 1940. He destroyed a Heinkel 111 and shared another on the 12th, shared a Dornier 17 on the 14th and was credited with a possible He111 on the 27th. After being withdrawn on June 17th, the squadron regrouped at Croydon and Middle Wallop before moving to Gravesend on July 26th.

Your readers might be interested to know that there is a wealth of information on these brave men at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Kent, where the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial wall lists the names of the fewer than 3,000 men known to have taken part in this remarkable victory over the Luftwaffe. – Yours, etc,

Group Captain



(RAF, Retired),

Honorary Secretary,

The Battle of Britain

Fighter Association,

The Battle of Britain

Memorial Trust,


West Malling,

United Kingdom.