WITH the Battle of Britain, the pivotal air battle of the Second World War, marking its 80th anniversary this summer, Worcester’s expert on the conflict Dilip Sarkar, has published two new books.

The first, “Battle of Britain 1940: The Finest Hour’s Human Cost”, has just been released and concerns the personal and deeply moving stories of casualties. While later in July “Letters From The Few: Unique Memories of the Battle of Britain” will go on sale.

“Each chapter is about a survivor I knew,” said Dilip, “and is based upon my extensive correspondence with them. It’s a very personal book.”

The two are the 35th and 36th authored by the former West Mercia Police officer, who has since become an established military historian and angling authority.

He explained: “The year 1940 remains a pivotal moment in modern British history, still inspiring immense national pride and a global fascination.

“The fall of France was catastrophic. Britain stood alone, within range of German air attack. America, with its vast resources was neutral, Hitler’s forces unbeaten and the outlook for Britain bleak.

“As Britain’s wartime leader, Winston Churchill, rightly predicted ‘the Battle of Britain is about to begin’.

“In this 80th anniversary year, I wanted to share stories of casualties, emphasising the human cost involved, such as pilot officer Martyn Aurel King, for example, a Hurricane pilot and youngest of the Few at eighteen – killed over Southampton in the same action in which Flight Lieutenant James B Nicolson won Fighter Command’s only VC. Another Hurricane pilot whose story is told is Flight Lieutenant PS ‘Squeak’ Weaver DFC – still missing in action.

“I was also able to write about a Defiant crew, a pilot and air gunner, the latter from New Zealand, a Spitfire squadron ground-crew member, and the three WAAFs killed during the Battle of Britain.

"The stories also include a German fighter pilot, civilians killed when Southampton’s Spitfire factory was bombed, and an Indian merchant seaman.

“Churchill immortalised Fighter Command’s young aircrew as the ‘Few',  to whom so many owed everything.”

The Few comprised nearly 3,000 RAF aircrew, 544 of whom gave their lives during the Battle of Britain’s sixteen weeks of high drama during the summer of 1940.”