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Squadron Leader Tony Pickering, one of ‘the Few’ from Battle of Britain dies, 95

PUBLISHED: 13:07 29 March 2016 | UPDATED: 13:42 29 March 2016

Sqn Ldr Tony Pickering

Sqn Ldr Tony Pickering

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His funeral will be held in Rugby

The Kent-based Battle of Britain Memorial Trust has paid tribute to another member of ‘the Few’ who died last week.

Squadron Leader Tony Pickering met the Queen when The Wing opened in 2015 at the Batlle of Britain Memorial in Capel-le-Ferne, Folkestone.

Sqn Ldr Pickering was a regular attendant at the trust’s events, and often attended with his wife, Chris.

President of the trust, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon, said: “He was a delight to be with and much loved and respected by us all.

A Hurricane pilot with Nos 32 and 501 squadros, Sqn Ldr Pickering was a keen bell ringer at his parish church and could remember the events of 1940 well.

He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve at Coventry in April 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot and began weekend flying training at Ansty. After being called up, Sqn Ldr Pickering left Coventry on September 15 for Hastings and spent time at Redhill before completing his training at Sealand in April 1940.

At that time a sergeant, he was posted from Sealand to No 32 Squadron at Biggin on July 27, and after training on Hurricanes he briefly rejoined No 32 before being posted to No 501 Squadron at Gravesend.

In an action with ME 109s over Caterham on 11 September, Sqn Ldr Pickering was shot down and baled out, landing unhurt in the guards depot.

In February 1945, Sqn Ldr Pickering was posted to the Middle East. He returned to the UK in December of that year and was released from the RAF as a Squadron Leader.

His funeral is expected to be held at St John the Baptist parish church at Hillmorton, near Rugby, where he was a bell ringer and church warden.

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