Spitfire display to honour one of Churchill’s ‘few’

A Spitfire will fly over a Yorkshire city this weekend to honour Battle of Britain pilot Ronald Berry.

Spitfire ace Ronald Berry who will be remembered with an aerial display this weekend.

Air Commodore Ronald “Ras” Berry CBE DSO DFC and Bar, born in Hull in 1917, flew in more than 400 combat missions.

In all, the pilot, described by his biographer as “a very cheerful, go ahead character who let his flying tell his story”, racked up 30 “claims”, including 14 “kills”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

One of only 14 Battle of Britain pilots to march at the head of the cortege at the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, Berry died in 2000, aged 83, having retired to Hornsea. His medals fetched over £140,000 when they went to auction last year.

A plaque to Berry will be unveiled on Saturday at 11am in the porch to the city’s Guildhall where he worked as a clerk until the outbreak of War, before the 15-minute aerial display by the Spitfire, which can be seen from the Pier at noon.

The plaque is one of a number of notable people from the city being unveiled to mark the centenary of the office of Lord Mayor and which will form a city-wide trail by 2017.

Berry’s biographer Don Chester, who has campaigned to get recognition for Berry, said it was “undoubtedly the right thing to do.”

Berry still only 23, was with No 603 Squadron, equipped with Spitfires, when he shot down three Messerschmitts on one day in August 1940, which earned him the soubriquet the Mighty Atom.

Winston Churchill coined the famous phrase about the “few”, referring to RAF pilots after the Battle of Britain, when he said “never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”. Mr Chester said: “For many years he has been unrecognised as a heroic figure in the city. Not before time we are going to have an opportunity for his memory to live on.”