THERE was a Spitfire display in the skies above Midhurst Rother College to honour Battle of Britain pilot and former pupil Arthur William Eade.
Warrant Officer Eade died in l971 but members of his family were there to see Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex Susan Pyper unveil a plaque in his memory and join in the commemoration ceremony.
The event was organised by managing director of the Battle of Britain Historical Society John Pulfer who is trying to identify where all Battle of Britain pilots were educated and place plaques there in their memory.
Warrant Officer Eade’s family were tracked down with the help of Jane Reader, member of the Midhurst branch of the Royal British Legion.
“This unveiling is particularly special,” said Mr Pulfer because when we found them it turned out several of them went to the same school and they didn’t even know about Warrant Officer Eade’s war record.”
Among them were his great, great niece Megan Eade a 15 year old pupil at Midhurst Rother College, formerly Midhurst Grammar School, where WO Eade was educated from 1926-1928.
At a service before the unveiling of the plaque Megan read the Battle of Britain poem White Chalk Marks in the Summer Sky.
Head boy George Stringer read Winston Churchill’s August 1940 speech ‘Never in the field of human conflict’.
Chris Dodds who serves with 27 Squadron represented the RAF. He said: “As a fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain aged 28, his life expectancy would have been just hours with a maximum time of just six weeks.”
Among other guests at the event hosted by the school and MRC Principal Dr Joe Vitagliano, were members of the Royal Air Force Association including another war hero Spitfire pilot John Seabourne, now 91 years old, who served in 226 Squadron.
Full story and pictures in the Midhurst and Petworth Observer this Thursday, July 25