Battle of Britain

September 27, 1940

Latching on to the 110, 21 year old Percy Burton found himself in hot pursuit of none other than Gruppe Kommandeur Horst Liensberger.  Their chase, a full throttle, forty mile duel to the death, all took place at tree top height or below. Witnesses stood in awe of their brilliant airmanship, as both pilots lifted their planes to clear houses, sliding through valleys and jinking around hills and homes. All the while they traded fire, swaying the branches of passing elms and sending empty cartridge cases clattering off the roads.

Somewhere north of Hailsham, Burton’s guns fell silent. People in the town saw them flash over the rooftops, skim the gas works and pass each side of St Mary’s spire, before flying on to a neighbouring meadow. There, slightly above and behind, Burton suddenly banked and dived, ramming the tail of the 110. Both aircraft leapt for a moment, hung at 200 feet, then Liensberger hurtled to the ground like a stone. Burton, who had fought so hard and flown so well, veered down to die against a massive oak.