The Greatest Generation are getting into their 90s now, and it just won’t be the same without their obituaries in the British papers.
The death notice of the plucky World War II hero has been a staple for years in The Times, The Guardian and other British papers. They’re RAF pilots who flew in the Battle of Britain, Royal Navy commanders who had boats torpedoed out from under them, usually with nicknames like ‘Bertie’ or ‘Pug’ and always with impossibly colorful exploits during the war.
This week The Telegraph has Air Commodore ‘Dim’ Strong (above), dead at age 97, who in 1941 ditched his bomber off the coast of Denmark, was rescued by fisherman, but then was turned over to the Germans:
“Two Mercedes staff cars brought Strong and his crew to the officers’ mess, where all the Luftwaffe airmen gathered to greet their RAF visitors. An all-night party ensued, with food, Danish beer, brandy and musical entertainment.”
“Drake, known for wearing a cravat in the colours of English Epsom Derby winner Hyperion, later recalled, ‘By God, we had a good time. That’s not to say we behaved in the way Hollywood likes to portray Battle of Britain pilots. Of course, there were a few randy ruffians who would chase any girl. But generally we all had girlfriends, and we didn’t use the war as an excuse to sleep with them. We were gentlemen.'”
“He first skied at Kitzbühl in 1948, and thereafter returned almost every year until he was 80. He loved fast cars and beautiful women. He was known in the town as ‘Halifax,’ some locals even assuming that he was the Earl of Halifax.”