Percy Beake was one of the last of ‘The Few’ who battled for Britain in the skies over Europe during World War II. He passed away at age 99; there are only 17 of ‘The Few’ surviving Beake.
Besides flying Spitfires in the summer of 1940, he also commanded a squadron of Typhoons during D-Day in 1944. The Canadian-born pilot was involved in dive-bombing rocket sites in France and attacking enemy ships in the English Channel.
He was raised in Bristol before being called up in 1939 as World War II was getting started. He was an instructor in 1944 and flew a Hawker Tempest with his initials, PH-B, on the side. He was released from the RAF on January 21, 1946. France awarded Beake with the Legion D’Honneur, the highest military medal in France.
After leaving the service, he worked for Unilever in the milling business in Avonmouth and London, then moved to Exeter. He retired with his wife to Ottery St. Mary, Devon. In 2008, he moved to Bath. He died last month, just a few weeks after the death of his wife of 75 years, Evelyn. He is survived by two daughters, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
He was buried at St Thomas à Becket Church in Widcombe, Bath. On Thursday, July 21st, 2016, a Spitfire and a Hurricane performed a flyover at the cemetery as a final salute to a war hero.