Photo: Royal Air Force
Photo: Royal Air Force
He rose to the rank of a Group
Captain. In the picture he is
seen with Queen Elizabeth II.
John Hemingway served in RAF for more than 30 years.
and we were helping them with it” he commented. During such an attack he was hit by flak and
was shot down fourth time in his career and had
to bail out for the third time. It happened on April 23, 1945. Once on the ground, thankfully the
Italian guerrillas got to him first. They dressed
him into peasant’s rags, so he would not draw
attention, and sent a little girl with him. She showed him a way to Allies throughout the German
positions. He feared for life of this girl more than
of his own but ultimately all ended well.
After the war ended, Paddy married Bridget and
they had three children: Susan, Michael, and Brian. He remained in the RAF service and gradually rose to the rank of Group Captain. He also
served as RAF Leconfield airbase commander,
a staff officer at NATO in France and worked at
the Ministry of the Aviation. He retired in September 1969. His wife passed away in 1998 and
after that he stayed for some time with his daughter in Canada. He has always wanted to return home and he finally did it in 2011 when he
relocated to Dublin. He currently lives in a senior
In May 2020 William Clark passed away at the
age of 101. He was a Battle of Britain veteran as
well. In 1940 he flew with No. 219 Squadron as
an air gunner on Bristol Blenheim and later as
a radar operator on Bristol Beaufighter participating in four night kills. Hemingway remained
alone, as a very last living aviator out of The Few
mentioned by Churchill. Then he granted several interviews for media, up until that time he
avoided any public presentation. He even kept
such a low profile that in 2018 he was listed as a
deceased aviator which did not escape his son’s
attention to have the mistake corrected. “During
the war all my closest friends died, and I considered memories of them a very private thing.
INFO Eduard - October 2021
Once I became the only Battle of Britain survivor
it made me think about those events again” he
told the Telegraph last year. It is not the honor
he cares about. If it can bring the attention to the
sacrifice of the others however it will be satisfying for him.
John Hemingway is 102 years old now and the
journalists could not refrain from asking for
a recipe for his age. It seems it has something to
do with a sense of humor. Paddy reportedly answered this question of the Irish Times: “I cannot
tell you not to drink. I cannot tell you not to fool
around with other people. I cannot tell you not to
fly an airplane. I cannot even tell you not to shoot
and let others shoot at you. I have done all of this.
But I am also Irish. So, the only advise I can give
to the people is: Be Irish!”
Šnajdr, M.: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, Ostrava, 1991
Holmes, T.: Esa na Hurricanech, Brno, 2009
Paddy lives in a senior housing in Ireland and still wears the moustache.