By sad and amazing coincidence, the other Battle of Britain ace to pen a foreword for Philip E West’s first collection of paintings, Aviation Masterworks, published by G2 Entertainment in September has also died this month. Sqn Ldr Geoffrey Wellum, who was just 18 when he joined the RAF in August 1939 and was the youngest Spitfire pilot to fly in the Battle of Britain, died at his home in Cornwall on Wednesday July 18 aged 96 – exactly one week after Wng Cdr Tom Neil DFC & Bar, who also wrote a foreword for Phil’s book, passed away aged 97. Sqn Ldr Wellum served with 92 Squadron and his first missions included the “dogfights” above London and the Home Counties for which the battle became known. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and was later promoted to flight commander with 65 Squadron. He stayed on in the RAF until 1960 and went on to write a best-seller about his experiences in the war – his 2002 memoir First Light. Phil commented: ” It is with profound sadness that we have to say goodbye to Squadron Leader Geoffrey ‘Boy’ Wellum DFC. A fighter pilot, hero and a true gentleman. I have extremely fond memories of meeting Geoff on many occasions. He always had that twinkle in his eyes, and there was something very special about the man. Blue skies. “