RAF Duxford chaplain’s account of Battle of Britain ‘heroism’

RAF Duxford chaplain's account of Battle of Britain 'heroism'
Guy MayfieldImage copyright IWM
Image caption Guy Mayfield was in his mid-30s when he arrived at Duxford and developed a rapport with the airmen. He wrote an RAF chaplain was the “one person who must not be shaken… must not drown his sorrows”.

A previously unpublished diary by an RAF chaplain reveals the “true heroism” of the Battle of Britain pilots.

Guy Mayfield arrived at RAF Duxford in Cambridgeshire in February 1940 and wrote about being “robbed of comrades and friends” as the death toll rose.

Imperial War Museum curator Carl Warner said his account revealed the airmen as “fragile, sensitive people battling the Luftwaffe and their own fears”.

The World War Two diary has been turned into a book.

Image copyright IWM
Image caption The Battle of Britain has become known as a turning point during World War Two when, in July 1940, Germany launched an attack on Britain’s air defences. Duxford was at the heart of the battle.
Image copyright IWM
Image caption Guy Mayfield became close friends with pilot Peter Watson, with whom he had long talk about how best to live when the 20-year-old “smelled death”. He was shot down over the Channel a month later and did not survive.
Image copyright IWM
Image caption Many of Duxford’s airmen were buried at Whittlesford parish church. Guy took the services, including for men with whom he had become friends – and also for a shot down German airman.
Image copyright IWM
Image caption Imperial War Museum curator Carl Warner said the chaplain was asked to get the pilots to bed earlier and to drink less “by drinking with them and setting an example”.
Image copyright IWM
Image caption The diary recounts how a furious George VI demanded to speak to the Air Ministry “on the secret line” after he arrived at Duxford to award medals, only to be told they had not arrived. The “gongs” turned up following the king’s intervention.
Image copyright IWM
Image caption Mr Warner said the diary offered “one of the finest accounts of a fighter station at war” and revealed “the true heroism” of those who took part in the Battle of Britain. Life and Death in the Battle of Britain will be released on 19 April.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *