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.