Autumn talks off to a great start

Commander David Houston, formerly of the South African Navy, began the Trust’s autumn series of talks with an interesting and detailed lecture on Exercise Magersfontein on Sunday (22 Sept).

This was a naval exercise held in 1988 to demonstrate South Africa’s ability to carry out long-range and extended amphibious operations against the background of the civil war in Angola.

The talk revealed that while the exercise was a success, given the limited resources available, it also showed that without air superiority the outcome was doubtful. The parallels with the Battle of Britain in 1940 were clear to the audience.

A tale of immense bravery will feature this Sunday (29 Sept), when Jim Nicolson gives a presentation on his uncle, James Nicolson VC, the only Fighter Command pilot to have been awarded the Victoria Cross in the whole of the Second World War.

The following Sunday, 6 October, Wing Commander Sophy Gardner MBE RAF (rtd) will talk on The RAF and Memorials.

Sophy, who has been granted access to the royal archives about the RAF Memorial and presented a paper at the National Maritime Museum, will talk about memorials after the First World War. She will explore the challenges facing the RAF and Royal Navy at a time when the focus was very much on the Army and the Western Front. Sophy is a Battle of Britain Memorial Trustee.

All the talks take place in the Geoffrey Page Centre at 2.30pm and booking is essential as space is limited. Ring 01303 249292 or email for more information. Hurricane members of Friends of the Few are entitled to free admission, Spitfire members pay just £5 and non-members pay £10. To join Friends of the Few click here.

David Houston

David Houston (centre) with Trustee Andy Simpson and Hon Sec Patrick Tootal

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