Friday, August 20, 2010

Just one of the Few

Seventy years ago today Winston Churchill (Winnie) uttered the immortal words:

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few

We – the British Public were the many and the few were men like Robert Doe (Bob) fighter pilots in the Second World War.

Bob was recognised as an ‘Ace’ after winning five air battles in his first week of fighting in August 1940. In 1940 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross "for his outstanding dash and an eagerness to engage the enemy at close quarters", to which was added a bar after he was shot down over Dorset later the same year.

He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his inspirational leadership during service in India - being one of only two men to be awarded this.

I met Bob in the sixties when he was a tall, balding, attractive man – great fun at parties and he and his tall raven haired wife made a striking couple. I had no idea of his war-time fame until many years later when I saw him being interviewed on TV.

Bob died this year at the age of 89. RIP

16 comments:

Guyana-Gyal said...

It's wonderful the way you celebrate your heroes, Pat, it's got me thinking.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

I aspire to have outstanding dash.

Eryl Shields said...

Five air battles in a week!

Granny Annie said...

It is always sad to lose a hero (and I mean an "in harms way" hero not a football star!). Two months ago we lost America's oldest living Medal of Honor recipient John Flynn who fought amazingly at Pearl Harbor and my husband had been privileged to meet this man in San Diego on several occasions and hear details of his exploits in person. So many forget those who willingly stand between us and the enemy.

R. Sherman said...

It's time to dust off my copy of Battle Of Britain for another viewing, methinks.

BTW, when I was a kid, over my bed I had a model Spitfire hanging in a position where it appeared to be shooting down a JU-87. The Spitfire was always one of my favorite aircraft.

Cheers.

Pat said...

Eryl: it's great that he managed to live to a ripe old age.

Granny Annie: He sounds a great guy. I must do some googling. And the thing was they were so young.

Randall: a great favourite of mine too. We kids raised money for the Spitfire fund and felt we owned them.
My first sports car was a 'Spitfire'.

Pat said...

UB: only a matter of time. Just keep your feet on the ground;)

angryparsnip said...

Thank You for the wonderful post,

How special that you were able to meet him and how charming you thought he was before you even knew of his wartime bravery.

cheers, parsnip

Kath said...

Lovely post. Just lovely. RIP Bob Doe.

Pat said...

Parsnip: there is so much we don't know about one another - some good - some not so good. I am glad - for a sort time - I knew him.

Kath : thank you;)

Warden Files said...

Pride in our great nation, wonderful stuff my dear, and long may it be celebrated.

Pat said...

Warden: as long as I'm around;)

Charlie said...

Yes, Pat, we tend to forget our heroes unless someone like you reminds us. Thank you for that.

Pat said...

charlie: takes one to know one:)

Keith said...

"À tout seigneur tout honneur"
(Honor to whom honor is due).

Pat said...

Keith: well said!