Flight Lieutenant William James ‘Bill’ Green (23 April 1917 – 7 November 2014)

Flight Lieutenant Bill Green was a Battle of Britain Fighter Pilot.

Green flew Hawker Hurricanes for 9 days during the Battle of Britain, between 20-29 August. During this time, he was shot down twice. On 24 August he was shot down and crash landed at Hawkinge, and on 29 August he was shot down over Deal in Kent.

Green was born in 1917 in Bristol and left school aged 14 to work in a cardboard box factory. In 1936, Green joined the Royal Auxiliary Air Force as an engine fitter and later trained as a pilot.

On 19 August 1940, Green joined 501 Squadron. He had less than 200 hours flying time and less than 7 hours on Hurricanes when he was sent into action on 20 August 1940. Green considers himself to have been one of the least trained pilots during the Battle of Britain and lucky to have survived.

On August 24, Green’s 501 squadron based at Hawkinge in Kent was scrambled to intercept a raid against the nearby airfield at Manston. Green closed in to attack an enemy dive-bomber when his aircraft was hit by the airfield’s anti-aircraft fire. His Hurricane was badly damaged and the engine stopped, but he managed to glide to Hawkinge, where he discovered half the undercarriage had been shot away. He crash-landed and scrambled from the wrecked aircraft.

The first thing Green knew of being shot down on 29 August 1940 was a large hole appearing in his armoured windscreen and he never saw the aircraft that shot him down. He managed to exit his aircraft but his parachute initially failed. His boots were ripped off his feet during the ensuing high-speed fall. As he fell towards tree-tops, the parachute eventually opened and he landed in a farm in Folkestone. Green had been hit in the leg and was unable to walk. Two men came out of the farmhouse with shotguns and once they realised Green was British, took him inside for a cup of tea.

Green did not fly again during the Battle of Britain, but once recovered he continued to serve with the RAF.

Wing Commander Robert William (‘Bob’) Foster DFC, AE (14 May 1920 – 30 July 2014)

Wing Commander ‘Bob’ Foster flew Hurricane fighters during the Battle of Britain, when he was credited with destroying and damaging a number of enemy aircraft; later in the war he destroyed at least five Japanese aircraft while flying from airfields in northern Australia.

Robert William Foster was born in 1920, in Battersea in South London. After leaving school, he worked for Shell and BP and became a member of the RAFVR in 1939. He was called up as war was about to be declared.

Foster was commissioned in June 1940. In July 1940 he was posted to No 605 (County of Warwick) Squadron, then at Drem near Edinburgh.

On September 7, having re-fuelled at Abingdon, so as not to be low on fuel in the area of most action, the squadron arrived at Croydon, as the first large attack on London was taking place. From the next day the squadron was suffering casualties. Foster remembers one occasion when, from the air, he could see bombs exploding in the vicinity of his family home at Clapham, however the house only suffered broken windows.

With a damaged engine on September 27, he landed in what appeared to be a Sussex field, but was surprised to realise that an RAF “erk” was standing beside the aircraft. His answer to the question, “Where am I?” was, “You have landed at RAF Gatwick, sir”.

Foster moved to instructing in the autumn of 1941 before becoming a Flight Commander with No 54 Squadron. In 1942 the squadron was sent to Australia as part of the country’s defence against the Japanese, being based first in New South Wales and then at Night Cliff in the Northern Territory. Foster was awarded the DFC on August 13 1943. He returned to the UK, went with the Air Information Unit to the continent in July 1944, before serving at HQ Fighter Command, Bentley Priory and in ground appointments at RAF Bentwaters. He left the RAF in 1947, but later served in the RAuxAF until 1957. Bob Foster was Chairman of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.


Thomas Clifford ‘Tony’ Iveson DFC AE (11 September 1919 – 5 November 2013)

Tony Iveson was a Battle of Britain pilot.

Born in 1919, Iveson joined the RAFVR in 1938. He was called up on September 1 1939. At No 5 Flying Training School at Sealand. Iveson converted to Spitfires and joined No 616 Squadron on 2 September 1940.

On 16 September, Iveson ditched in the North Sea 20 miles off Cromer after running out of fuel while chasing a Junkers Ju 88. He was picked up by a motor torpedo boat and landed at Yarmouth. He was posted to No 92 Squadron on October 11 1940. Commissioned in May 1942, Iveson did his second operational tour with Bomber Command. He joined No 617 Squadron in 1944 and amongst other operations, he flew three sorties against the German battleship Tirpitz, including the one that resulted in her sinking in Tromso Fjord on November 12 1944.

On January 12 1945 he took part in a raid on shipping and the submarine base at Bergen, in Norway. The Lancasters were jumped by German fighters and his aircraft was badly damaged, with his port inner engine set on fire and his tailplane and rudders riddled with bullets. His two air gunners and wireless operator had already baled out, when the the fighters suddenly broke off the attack. Iveson managed to regain control of the stricken aircraft and reached Sumburgh, Shetland. For this action, he was awarded the DFC.

Iveson left the RAF on July 12 1949. Later he became Chairman of the Bomber Command Association and was a major force in the campaign that led to the creation of the Bomber Command Memorial in The Green Park in London.

Flight Lieutenant William Walker (24 August 1913 – 21 October 2012)

Flt Lt William Walker was a Battle of Britain pilot. In later life, he wrote poems about the Battle of Britain.

Walker joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve at Oxford in September 1938 to train as a pilot. Called up on the outbreak of war, he completed his training and joined 616 Squadron, based in East Yorkshire and responsible for protecting the industrial cities of the North of England.

After battles with the German Luftwaffe in the North of England, Walker moved with 616 Squadron to Kenley, in the South of England.

Battle of Britain veteran William Walker laying a wreath to absent friends outside Bentley Priory

On 26 August 1940, as Walker was attacking a Bf 109 his Spitfire was hit from behind and he was wounded in the leg. As his controls were shot away, Walker was forced to bail out at 20,000 ft and landed in the English Channel, where he was rescued by a fishing boat. He was transferred to hospital where they removed a .303 bullet – which he kept as a souvenir.

Walker recovered and returned to service during World War II, and was released from the RAF in September 1945.

Walker was a poet and later wrote about the significance of the Battle of Britain and the courage of those who flew during this pivotal moment in modern history.


Squadron Leader Cyril Stanley ‘Bam’ Bamberger DFC* AE* (4 May 1919- 3 February 2008)

‘Bam’ Bamberger was an accomplished RAF pilot who flew during the Battle of Britain, the Defence of Malta and the Korean War and was awarded the DFC Bar and AE Bar medals.

Bam was also a passionate supporter of the creation of a Museum at Bentley Priory and was vice-chair for the newly founded Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust.

In 2008, a few weeks before his death, he gave an interview to the Sunday Telegraph about Bentley Priory’s importance:

”When we first heard the MOD was to sell Bentley Priory, all members of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association were shattered and given the financial lead by one of the Honorary members, we decided to save Bentley Priory for the Nation.

Bentley Priory is the spiritual home of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association. Our first annual dinner, with Lord Dowding present, was held in that historical building in 1946. Ever since that date, we veterans have gathered there every year to remember our Battle of Britain fallen comrades, and as the years have passed, the Few get fewer.

Bentley Priory is a Memorial for the Nation to those who served in the Battle of Britain in any capacity and, as such, has a national and international focus attracting interest from all over the world. I am pleased to be playing my part in the preservation of the significant parts of this great building. Lord Nelson and the Victory saved England. Lord Dowding and Bentley Priory saved the World.”

Cyril Stanley Bamberger – always known as ‘Bam’ – was born in Cheshire on 4 May 1919. In 1934 he became an electrical engineering apprentice, and in 1936 he joined the ground staff of 610 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force, which was formed at Hendon and he then operated Hawker Hind light bombers from Hooton Park, Ellesmere Port. Bam was accepted for pilot training in 1938.

Bam was called into full-time service during World War II and rejoined 610 Squadron, now on Spitfires, at Biggin Hill on 27 July 1940 as a Sergeant Pilot. Bam was sent to an Operational Training Unit for 3 weeks to gain Spitfire experience.

On 28 August Bam returned to 610 and claimed a Bf109 probably destroyed. Bam was then posted to 41 Squadron at Hornchurch on 17 September. On 5 October, he gained his first confirmed combat victory when he shot down a Bf 109.

In mid-October, as the Battle of Britain was coming to an end, Bam volunteered for Malta, where he joined 261 Squadron (Hurricanes). Bam destroyed 2 Ju 87s during his time with 261 Squadron and then moved to newly re-formed 185 Squadron at Hal Far.

Bam continued to fly during the rest of World War II, serving in North Africa and returning to Malta and Hal Far.  After the war, Bam commanded 610 Squadron for their conversion from Spitfires to Meteors and served during the Korean War.

Bam died on 3 February 2008, at the age of 88, with his family around him.