Reference work presented to islanders

Trust historian Geoff Simpson has presented a copy of Men of the Battle of Britain, widely regarded as the standard work of reference on those who took part in the conflict, to the Société Jersiaise.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust now owns the copyright of the book, by Kenneth G Wynn, and was responsible for updating the information in the recently published third edition, now available from the Trust’s shop.

Geoff handed over the work, subtitled A Biographical Directory of the Few, in front of an audience that included relatives of some of the men whose bravery is recorded in its pages. It will be kept in the history society’s library so it can be read by the public.

Société president Colin Perchard said: “The book is a wonderful thing to receive, as it is a work of immense research and scholarship, and having a reference to the airmen who gave their lives for freedom and the Islands makes it a very special donation.”

Relatives of Battle veterans at the ceremony included Rosemary Sanchez de Vega, whose father Frank Connor was shot down and forced to parachute into the sea off the Isle of Wight in July 1940. He returned to the Island after the Second World War and worked as an air traffic controller at the airport.

She said that until she had read a story in the Jersey Evening Post inviting Islanders with relatives who fought in the Battle of Britain to attend the handing-over ceremony, she had not been aware of the book or the entry about her father.

“My father did not like to talk about what happened to him in the war but we have all his war records before he married my mother,” she said. “They were married during the war and she kept a wartime diary, and I have handed copies of all that over to Geoff.”

Brothers Philip, Charles and Nickolas de Carteret, whose uncle Harold Fenton was a Squadron Leader during the Battle, commanding No 238 Squadron in June 1940, also attended and gave Geoff  fresh information.

(Story adapted from the Jersey Evening Post original)

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