Remembering ‘The Few’: Photos of the Young Pilots Who Saved England

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Going back to the photographs, the one thing that no cinema film can recreate no matter how good the actors are, is the tiredness in the eyes. Every one of them (on both sides) look absolutely exhausted
Yes. The picture of Lewis clambering off his Hurricane has been often published and he is certainly showing the strain. Exhaustion is a definite common theme in the accounts of this time by men on both sides.

I have a suspicion that some of those photographs were not taken in England but rather in France...could be mistaken though.


The story may be apocryphal but I heard that one young British pilot, when asked at the time by a reporter what the pilot thought about Churchill's statement "Never was so much owed by so many to so few", he replied "He was referring to our bar tabs."
According to this website
GREATEST Quotes| Page 4 | Battlestar Galactica Online
"He must be referring to whoever paid our bar tab." Al Deere Pilot Royal Canadian Air Force.
It was Al Deere, a fine approach to life if I may say.
Al Deere is one of a few pilots who, in their combat reports, refer to making 'front gun exercises' at German airmen they have shot down. In two examples, Deere and Eric Edsall, the 'front gun exercise' was made at a downed airman climbing into his dinghy in the English Channel. I have never understood whether this 'exercise' meant that the British/NZ pilots concerned were attempting to kill the unfortunate Germans or whether they were making a dummy pass at them. Does anyone have a proper definition of a 'front gun exercise'?
Incidentally both Deere and Edsall were jumped by Bf 109s whilst doing this, both had their aircraft shot up, but managed to evade their attackers and return to England, so it might not have been a particularly smart thing to do.

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