Research means new headstone for one of the Few

The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust has welcomed the news that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is to adjust its records and provide a new headstone for a Hurricane pilot who may have been the youngest to fly in the Battle.

Detailed research by historian Geoff Simpson and genealogist Gladys Armstrong shows that Pilot Officer Martyn Aurel King died in action at the age of 18, rather than 19, and has prompted the CWGC to replace his headstone.

Until now, CWGC records and his gravestone at Fawley, Hampshire, described Pilot Officer King as 19 years of age when he was killed.

The researchers have tracked down King’s birth certificate, which shows he was born on 15 October 1921 and was therefore short of his 19th birthday when he was shot down on 16 August 1940 while flying with No 249 Squadron.

Aurel King (as he was known at school) is now the youngest pilot for whom the Trust has proof of his date of birth. The youngest Spitfire pilot for whom the Trust has similar proof is Pilot Officer Alexander Nelson Robin Langley Appleford, known as Robin, whose birth certificate shows he was born on 16 September 1921.

Flight Lieutenant Appleford, who flew in the Battle with No 66 Squadron and No 421 Flight, died in 2012.

Martyn Aurel King

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