Poems by Spitfire pilot, Albert, 95, published at last

PUBLISHED: 16:46 28 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 16 August 2010

A 95-YEAR-OLD Burma Star WWII veteran says it was a proud and emotional moment to see his poem published in a book of war poetry.

A 95-YEAR-OLD Burma Star WWII veteran says it was a 'proud and emotional' moment to see his poem published in a book of war poetry.

Albert Bennett, who was at the liberation of Changi Prison in Singapore in 1945, has had his poem Remembrance, which was commended by the Queen, published in Tides of Life.

Although it was first released in July of this year, publishers Forward Press were flooded and the first batch was destroyed, so Mr Bennett only received his copy last Friday.

Mr Bennett, from north Kent, said: "It is emotional to see your poem being published in a collection of poems like that.

"My poem is right on the last page, and I think it is a fitting end to the book."

Now one of the last surviving members of 155 Spitfire Squadron, Mr Bennett added: "I am very proud."

He said he wrote Remembrance in 1995 following a Burma Star parade attended by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Mr Bennett was one of the veterans who attended a memorial service to remember pilots who died during the Battle of Britain last month, as reported in the Times.

He met with Diana Lacey, daughter of James "Ginger" Lacey at a service in the London Embankment to remember pilots who defended the country from invasion in 1940.

Ginger Lacey, based at Gravesend airfield on September 13, 1940, engaged and shot down a German bomber that had just bombed Buckingham Palace.

The Palace chapel was hit, injuring three staff.

A project to honour the pilots who died in North Kent and south-east London is being run by Shoreham Aircraft Museum.

A memorial stone was laid in Sparepenny Lane, Farningham, next to where Flight Lieutenant Jimmy Paterson crashed and died on September 27, 1940.

A sixth dedication will be to Robin "Bubbles" Waterston, shot down and killed aged just 23 on August 31, 1940, when his Spitfire dived into the ground in Repository Road, Woolwich, outside the main gates to the Artillery Barracks.

Sergeant John Ellis was listed as missing in action after an air battle over Orpington.

In 1993 his remains were discovered in Warren Road, Chelsfield, within the shell of his aircraft.

A memorial stone marks the place where his Hurricane had drilled itself into the earth.

Others honoured are Nathaniel Barry, from Darenth, Trevor Oldfield, from Hesketh Park, Dartford, and Paterson Hughes, from Sundridge.

Mr Bennett will be collecting for the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal ahead of Remembrance Sunday on November 11.

He is due to hold collections at Morrisons in Jenner Close, Sidcup, this Saturday and at The Mall on Albion Road, Bexleyheath, the following Saturday.

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