To mark Armistice Day Clare Balding meets Spitfire pilot , Geoffrey Wellum.
14 November 2008
Clare is walking the Cornish Coast with Geoffrey Wellum, the youngest fighter pilot to survive the Battle of Britain.
Geoffrey Wellum was the youngest fighter pilot to survive the Battle of Britain. He was just 18 and straight out of school when he began flying Spitfires.
After the war, he used to go for long walks and only through walking was he able to find the peace he needed to recuperate. Now aged 87, Clare joins Geoffrey at Mullion Cove in Cornwall. This is a walk he now enjoys to find the isolation and solitude he needs . From here you will see breathtaking views of Mullion Island and Landsend.
Geoffrey flew with 92 Squadron throughout the Battle of Britain. In 1941, he was sent to help raise the siege of Malta. This was when Geoffrey suffered a breakdown of health. After three years of intense flying, he was flown home, given a months leave and was then asked to be a test pilot. By the age of 20, he had achieved everything he had ever wanted.
After he left the RAF, he found it difficult to settle after the loss of so many friends and colleagues. At the lowest time of his life he started writing his memoirs and then moved down to Cornwall. A place where he promised himself he would return if he found life difficult.
During this walk, he reflects on how important walking has been to him throughout his life from his schooldays through to his retirement.
Map: Explorer 103. The Lizard Start Grid Ref: SW666181 – Mullion Cove Terrain: Coastal path Suitable for: All walkers
Route: Follow the South West Coastal path from Mullion Cove.