Last Canadian Battle of Britain Pilot Dies

Canada’s last surviving Battle of Britain pilot John Hart has died at the age of 102. Hart was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for a combat career that started in Spitfires in the famous air battle over England in 1940 and closed with him being released from the RAF as commander of a squadron of P-51 Mustangs in Italy. He scored numerous victories in the European, Indian and Burmese theatres. He flew hundreds of sorties in fighter, bomber escort and ground attack roles.

After the war, Hart became a real estate appraiser in Vancouver and later moved to Penticton in retirement. To celebrate his 100th birthday he went for a flight in a Harvard, describing it as like flying a logging truck compared to his favourite mount, the Spitfire. RCAF CF-18s flew over his Penticton home in a tribute on his birthday. With Hart’s death, there are now only four known survivors of “The Few” immortalized in Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s tribute to the pilots who held off German attackers in the Battle of Britain.