A fitting salute to Wing Commander “Tim” Elkington

Today, I witnessed a very fine salute to Wing Commander Tim Elkington (23 Dec 1920 to 1 Feb 2019).

My wife and I walked down to St Peters church in Little Rissington to witness the Hurricane display.  Not knowing the family, we met Gray, his son by accident, who made us very welcome. I took a few pictures of the family and friends near the church but will not upload them in respect to those present. The service was broadcast outside and Gray, Tessa and John Elkington spoke extremely fondly with appropriate anecdotes about their father.

The service was conducted by The Venerable Ray Pentland, CB MTh RAF Honorary Chaplain to the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.

Air Vice Marshall Simon Ellard (AOC 38 Group) representing HRH The Prince of Wales and the Chief of Air Staff was in attendance. Also The Standard of No1 Squadron RAF, was borne, presented and laid at the Altar (from RAF Lossiemouth).

The last post was played by permission of the RAF Board of Defence Council and ended a fitting tribute to Tim Elkington.

The start of the salute was an absolute brilliant display of a Hurricane Mk 1. R4118 flown by Stu Goldspink. It is the only Hurricane from the Battle of Britain flying today.

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This article is from Daily Express with many more pictures.

Battle of Britain hero who led charmed life dies aged 98

THERE can’t have been many Second World War pilots who could claim that their mother watched them being shot down from the balcony of her own home. But Wing Commander “Tim” Elkington, who has died aged 98, was one.

It was August 16, 1940, and the civilian population that lived along the coast by The Solent had a grandstand view of one of the most epic confrontations between British and German fighters of the Second World War. Several RAF squadrons were scrambled to intercept a massive raid by a group of Stuka dive bombers and no fewer than 100 Messerschmitt Bf 109s on the RAF base at Tangmere near Chichester in West Sussex. Ten thousand feet below, from her house on Hayling Island, Hants, Mrs Isabel Elkington trained her binoculars on one plane in particular, a lone Hurricane being pursued by three Bf 109s. She knew at once it was her 19-year-old son’s because of the bright yellow figure of “Eugene the Jeep” on its nose.Her son had painted his plane with a picture of the Popeye cartoon character for good luck.

But it failed to save him that day. Cannon fire tore through his starboard fuel tank and the injured Elkington was forced to bail out. He didn’t have time to inflate his lifejacket before losing consciousness, and if it wasn’t for the quick-thinking – and brilliant flying skills – of his flight leader Sergeant-Pilot Fred Berry he would certainly have drowned.

But Berry used the slipstream of his aircraft to blow Elkington ashore and he was taken to hospital in Chichester where his mother was at his bedside within the hour.

He was later mollified to find that the pilot who had shot him down was Luftwaffe ace Major Helmut Wick who had made him his eighteenth victim. “He was quite an experienced chap, so I’m not too put out!” he said.

His first act was to try to contact Fred Berry to thank him for saving his life, but he discovered his guardian angel had been shot down and killed exactly one month earlier on September 1.

After a spell as an instructor, Elkington was sent to Russia in 1941 as part of RAF 151 Wing, to deliver Hurricanes to the Soviet air force and train its pilots and ground staff in their use. He flew off HMS Argus to Vaenga airfield near Murmansk and took part in actions against the Luftwaffe.

When he returned to England he had his second lucky escape, surviving hitting a 440,000-volt power cable across the Tyne, which plunged nearby towns into darkness.

John Francis Durham Elkington – always known as “Tim” – was born in Edgbaston, Birmingham, in 1920 and entered RAF College Cranwell as a flight cadet aged 18. After the war he stayed in the services, commanding RAF Turnhouse, Edinburgh, before serving in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, and Christmas Island in the Pacific during British nuclear tests in the 1950s.

He retired with the rank of Wing Commander in 1975, the same year that the nose-painted Hurricane he had bailed out of 35 years earlier was found by an archaeologist in ground near West Wittering beach. It had buried itself deep into the earth when it crashed in 1940.

Elkington was later given the plane’s vertical speed indicator as a memento and it remained one of his most prized possessions.

In 2016 he attended a tea in Clarence House hosted by the Prince of Wales, who is patron of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.

The 3,000-strong band of RAF pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain, fought over three months and three weeks from July to October 1940, became known as The Few.

Last year Elkington was one of five Battle of Britain pilots, along with Geoffrey Wellum, Tom Neil, Paul Farnes and John Hemingway, to have their portraits drawn by artist Jeremy Houghton.

Wing Commander Elkington, of Little Rissington, near Cheltenham, Gloucs, died after a fall on February 1. He is survived by his wife Pat and four children John, Caroline, Gray and Tessa.

Speaking from Denmark his son John last night told the Daily Express: “My father grew up in a different world. An only child, sent away to school when he was six, he jumped at joining the RAF shortly before the war. He would later stress that, while he was one of The Few, they in turn were supported by The Many. The ground crew, radar plotters, the merchantmen and tanker crews running the gauntlet of the U-boat wolf-packs. And, critically, the ordinary Britons who endured the Blitz.

“In recent years, he was an extraordinary ambassador for his generation – indeed there has been an amazing outpouring of gratitude over the internet since his death was announced and the RAF ensign went to half-mast at the Battle of Britain memorial.”

 

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