‘During the Battle of Britain, his mother watched him being shot down’
‘Wing Commander Tim Elkington, who has died aged 98, was one of the last surviving pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain, and was one of only two survivors of the RAF Hurricane Wing that operated with the Russians from the Arctic port of Murmansk.
He was still only 19 when he joined No 1 Squadron at RAF Northolt in July 1940, during the opening phase of the Battle of Britain. Flying a Hurricane fighter, he shot down a Messerschmitt Bf 109 on August 15. The following day, he was on patrol over Portsmouth when his section ran into a large formation of enemy fighters near Selsey Bill.
The Hurricanes were separated during the engagement and Elkington pursued a lone Bf 109. But others attacked him from the rear, and his starboard fuel tank was hit. His aircraft burst into flames. He was slightly injured and forced to bail out off the coast, and his wingman flew close by so as to allow the slipstream from his Hurricane to blow the parachute inland. [He recalls this story in his nineties in the first video below. It is, as the young say now and a contributor observed, an ‘OMG’ tale].
After recovering from his injuries, Elkington returned to 1 Squadron, now based at Wittering near Peterborough. On October 9 he took off with a second aircraft and the two of them chased a lone Junkers 88 bomber to the coast.