WWII RAF veteran reunited with Battle of Britain aircraft

A WWII RAF veteran had the chance to fly alongside the aircraft he helped maintain during the heroic Battle of Britain in 1940.

Jeff Brereton, who celebrated this 102nd birthday earlier this year, took to the air in BE505, the world’s only two seat Hurricane, with R4118, the only remaining airworthy Mk 1 Hurricane to have taken part in the Battle of Britain, and the aircraft Jeff worked on, flying alongside.

Jeff, who lives in Evesham, Worcestershire, said:

“I have great memories of the plane. Of all the aircraft I dealt with, that was the one that stuck in my mind. It was unbelievable to be able to see that aircraft again, that it had survived.”

After the flight, Jeff recounted:

“Once you leave that ground, you’re in a completely different world altogether. You can’t have that feeling on Earth. You see the same clouds, but they don’t look the same, they don’t feel the same. I can’t wait to do it again.”

Jeff’s amazing story first came to light when he gave an interview with Air Mail, the RAF Association’s member magazine. The team realised that the Hurricane Jeff worked on had not only been restored but was still flying.

The Association immediately got in touch with James Brown, the current owner of the R4118 Hurricane. James runs Hurricane Heritage, an organisation based at the historic White Waltham Airfield where visitors can experience flying in and alongside these iconic aircraft.

James arranged for Jeff to come to the airfield with his family and jump in the cockpit and take to the skies.

James said:

“The story is just an unbelievable coincidence and it’s so incredibly lucky to have found Jeff. I just couldn’t believe that there was this amazing guy who was still around and actually remembers working on our Hurricane.”

Jeff volunteered for the RAF in January 1940 at just 19-years-old. He was called up that spring and sent on an aero0-engineering course where he qualified as a Flight Mechanic – Engine.

He joined 605 Squadron at RAF Croydon and was soon repairing Hurricanes, including R4118, in the hectic days of the Battle of Britain.

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By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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