Centenarian Spitfire pilot visits beloved planes

Former Spitfire pilot honoured by the Queen has had his wish to be close to a Spitfire once more granted
Wing Commander Michael Jones OBE is a resident at our home.

Michael expressed a desire to be close again to small, old aircraft. So, we arranged a visit to Compton Abbas Airfield, near Shaftesbury.

Our Companionship Team Leader, Bev de Bruyn said: “Michael and three other residents Margaret Webster, Julie Brown and Russell Williams, together with staff members Emma Phillips and Gillian Kellythorn, received a warm welcome at Compton Abbas by the management and staff who were delighted to meet Michael.

“After a light lunch the party watched small aircraft take off and land and a further surprise awaited Michael when his daughter Jennifer arrived, having driven all the way from Torquay especially for the event.
“Michael then visited the aircraft hangar, where he was particularly fascinated with the Tiger Moth and seemed to be very moved when he touched its fuselage.
“He also checked the anti-spin structure on the craft, which wasn’t there when he flew them and asked the knowledgeable technicians several questions about the planes stored there.”

Michael went to school in Oxford and as a boy dreamt of flying.

He was only 17 when World War Two was declared and when he was called up to do his National Service he immediately pursued a career as a pilot.
Michael did his training and advanced training in the United States and went on to complete 13 operations in Spitfires and even more in twin-engine Spitfires.
Michael said: “I wasn’t ever nervous of flying, although I must have been. I think I just knew the job had to be done.”
In one operation he recalls being hit. But luckily his plane suffered only structural damage.

He added: “What made me most nervous was not knowing where the attack came from.”

Bev added: “Michael may now be 100 years old, but he still loves the outdoors and has an uncanny sense of the clouds and how the weather is behaving, which was obviously key as a pilot.

“He told us his visit to Compton Abbas was a truly special day in which a dear wish was fulfilled. All the way home in the minibus there was a buzz of chatter and reminiscing of the war days and the courage of the pilots.”