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WWII pilot dies, aged 95

Wing Commander Archie Boyd

Wing Commander Archie Boyd

A hero of the Battle of Britain, born in Sheffield during the last summer of the First World War, has died aged 95.

Wing Commander Archie Boyd, who went on to become one of the RAF’s most successful pilots, was born Archibald Douglas McNeill Boyd in Sheffield on June 20, 1918. He was educated at Harrow, then Oxford, where he learned to fly, before cutting short his studies to join the RAF on the outbreak of World War Two.

He flew throughout the Battle of Britain in 1940, but always said modestly he ‘didn’t really qualify as one of the Few’.

In 1943 he took command of No 219 Squadron, with the task of preparing it for an unknown destination overseas. It turned out to be months of action over Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily and Italy, providing cover for the landings at Salerno, and Boyd was awarded a DSO for his ‘outstanding courage and initiative in action’.

In civilian life he worked initially as a test pilot for an engineering firm, and in the late 1950s he personally delivered Eva Peron’s private plane to Argentina.

He retired in the 1980s, and moved with his wife Ursula to France. They were married for 71 years, and had two sons and a daughter.

 

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