Spitfire tribute to pilot with a twinkle in his eye

Members of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust traveled to Solihull yesterday (7 Sept 2017) to pay tribute to Flying Officer Kenneth Astill Wilkinson AE, a much-loved member of the Few who died at the age of 99.

The moving service in a packed St Alphege’s Church was followed by three passes from a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire, to resounding applause from those who had gathered to say their final farewells.

Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were represented by Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon, GCB, CBE FRAeS, a former President of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.

The Venerable Ray Pentland, Honorary Chaplain to the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, conducted the service, which included a moving tribute to his grandfather by Piers Cooper and a reading of the well-known poem High Flight by historian Dilip Sarkar.

Group Captain Patrick Tootal OBE paid tribute to ‘Ken’, known for the twinkle in his eye and his love of red wine, on behalf of the Trust, while Flight Lieutenant Anthony Parkinson MBE, who has flown and displayed BBMF fighters over many years, read from 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13.

A retiring collection was taken in aid of Cancer Research.

The RAF Ensign was flown at half mast at the Memorial during the day as a further mark of respect for one of the last of the Few.

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