When Battle of Britain enthusiast Jonny Cracknell met Archie McInnes, one of the Few, at an event at Duxford, it sparked a friendship that grew over time.
Despite not being, at that stage, a published author, Jonny persuaded Archie, who flew Hurricanes with Nos 601 and 238 Squadrons during the Battle of Britain, to let him write his biography.
“He was a modest man whose successes came later in the war and he said he felt he was included in the Few under false pretences,” said Jonny. “That wasn’t true, of course, and like all of those who served, he had a great tale to tell.”
Archie went on to serve with 238 in the Middle East and lost an arm after being shot down in October 1941 but stayed in the RAF until he was released in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.
Jonny was invited to Archie’s home and interviewed him for the book, Against Adversity, which he began in February of this year and completed in June, just weeks before Archie died the evening after he celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends.
On Battle of Britain Day, the author visited the Memorial and donated a number of the books, some of them signed by Archie himself, to the Trust for sale in the shop.
“We really appreciate the generosity of Jonny’s gesture,” said Trustee Andy Simpson. “The site receives no public funding and relies on shop and café sales and donations to keep it going. Selling this great new work will make a welcome contribution to our funds.”