Squadron Leader Nigel Rose, a Spitfire pilot with No 602 Squadron throughout the Battle of Britain, died earlier today (Sunday 10 Sept) at the age of 99.
Sqn Ldr Rose, who was training to be a quantity surveyor when war broke out, had joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve at Southampton in December 1938 as an airman under training pilot.
After completing his training in June 1940, he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer and joined No 602 Squadron at Drem the next day. On 13 August he was thrown into the front line when the squadron moved to Westhampnett, a satellite of Tangmere.
On one occasion, he found himself in trouble over the Channel after he was shot up by an ME 110 which he later explained had “made rather a mess of the spitfire”.
He went on: “At first I thought I had to get out. I put the hood back, undid the straps and got my feet up on the seat. But then I decided that I could get back to Westhampnett. I managed that and landed with no brakes, flaps or radio.”
After serving with No 54 Squadron and spending time as an instructor in the UK and the Middle East, Sqn Ldr Rose left the RAF in February 1946 and pursued his earlier choice of career, becoming a chartered quantity surveyor.
Until recent years, Sqn Ldr Rose had been a very active member of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association and a keen supporter of the work of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.