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-   -   Sqn Leader GHA Wellum DFC RIP (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/611298-sqn-leader-gha-wellum-dfc-rip.html)

Treble one 19th Jul 2018 23:23

Sqn Leader GHA Wellum DFC RIP
A truly terrible week for the ever diminishing Few continues with the death of Geoffrey Wellum.

Geoff served on 92 squadron during the Battle and his descriptions of flying a Spitfire are profound and moving

If you've never read First Light then please take the time to do so. It's the most extraordinary book.

RIP sir.

Phantom Driver 19th Jul 2018 23:37

If you've never read First Light then please take the time to do so. It's the most extraordinary book.

RIP sir.
Indeed . He had a good innings .

NutLoose 20th Jul 2018 00:40

Of the sad list of those passing this one evokes sadness, such an unassuming gentleman thrust into the fight for freedom yet still maintaining a dignity in life and a shining example of hope for Britain, rest easy and a heartfelt thank you....... Blue skies.

sidevalve 20th Jul 2018 06:41

Couldn't agree more with the above comments. His inspirational account of his part in the BoB is a humbling read.. To have done all that, in such a pitiless environment, at such a tender age, without a hint of self-aggrandisement, and to have survived intact to tell us the tale.. will serve as a lasting and magnificent memorial for all those who took part from that greatest of generations.
RIP Sir..

Old King Coal 20th Jul 2018 06:45

A great book, by a great author, who was a great pilot and great man.

RIP and smooth skies Squadron Leader Geoffrey Harris Augustus Wellum DFC


And if you want a taste of what he and (the few) others did click here to view the BBC's adaption of his book: https://tinyurl.com/yakcc6pu

flap15 20th Jul 2018 06:53

So sad to hear of his passing. His book is a must for anyone with the slightest interest in aviation. Some of his descriptions of early training had me back in the Chipmunk in Swinderby, evoking memories of leather and avgas. I will raise a blast in his honour this evening.

Stitchbitch 20th Jul 2018 07:29

Very sad, he was a lovely chap, as were all the boys Iíve been fortunate to meet that survived the Battle. Favourite memories are helping him aboard Ďhisí BBMF Spit IIa (P7) and seeing the look on his face as we pushed the aircraft back to the flight line with him in the cockpit, and standing next to him at Northolt, outside the OM with Spitfire beer in hand, watching two (slightly) more youthful BBMF pilots performing aerial magic in Spitfire and Hurricane. RIP Sir, you (and your comrades) will be missed.

Ivor Fynn 20th Jul 2018 09:38

Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of “Boy Wellum”, I remember one of the guys on the squadron reading the book and then passing it on to me, I couldn’t put it down, truly inspiring.



dead_pan 20th Jul 2018 10:04

Saddened to hear of his passing. A decent, gentle man

goudie 20th Jul 2018 10:24

I found his book spellbinding, all written in a matter of fact manner. One couldn’t help but have the deepest respect for him

Wander00 20th Jul 2018 10:39

Great man - will be much missed. RIP

MPN11 20th Jul 2018 11:38

A brave young man who turned into an excellent author and then into a self-effacing Elder.

A life well-lived. RIP, Sir.

Blacksheep 20th Jul 2018 13:21

I feel very sad to hear of his death. His account of combat in Spitfires remains as a monument to the man and a lasting tribute to all who fought in the Battles of Britain and Malta.

Fortissimo 20th Jul 2018 15:38

A great man, and a wonderful author. First Light is on my re-read ASAP list.

My wife and I met him in the RAF Club the night before the last BofB service at the Abbey. Mrs asks if she can have a photo with him, we he graciously agreed to, I take the photo, and she tells him that he's made her day. "Oh no!" he says, "You've made mine!" He then looked up at me from his wheelchair, winked, and said: "Well, good night, old boy!" Priceless.

Finningley Boy 20th Jul 2018 15:42

Very sad news indeed, RIP Sir.


Tankertrashnav 20th Jul 2018 17:48

I had the pleasure of meeting Geoffrey Wellum a number of times, the first time was when he came into my shop and asked me to get his medals remounted, as he was to accompany the Book of Remembrance at the annual B of B service in Westminster Abbey and wanted them tidying up. Mrs TTN and I attended that service, and I saw Geoffrey around the Club several times over the weekend. We were both queueing to pay our bills on the Monday morning and he was less than impressed with the efficiency of the system - I got the impression he was not a man who would suffer fools gladly!

Some years later I bumped into him at our local filling station and I asked him what he had been up to recently. He replied that he had been flying a Spitfire. I foolishly thought to myself "oh dear, his mind is going at last", but of course I was completely wrong. He had been up at Kidlington where he and a couple of other B of B pilots had been given flights in the two seat Spitfire there. He took the controls after take-off and said that it was though it had only been yesterday that he had last flown one.

I rather thought he would be "last man standing" of "the Few", but it was not to be. RIP sir, it was a privilege to have known you.

Training Risky 20th Jul 2018 22:53

RIP Sir. Your frank and honest recollections of being thrust into the Battle of Britain after captaining the school Cricket XI had me gripped during my flying training. It was another world compared to what we have now.

Per Ardua

Mogwi 20th Jul 2018 23:03

Geoff should probably have died at the age of 18 - but he survived! Not only the Battle of Britain but Malta as well. Unsurprisingly these experiences took their toll but his story was found and published to the delight of many thousands of those of us who appreciate what aerial combat actually means. I count myself privileged to be able to count him as a friend, although I only met him in the autumn of his years. When I met him, I presumptively gave him a signed copy of my book - to find he had already bought one! It was reading "First Light" that spurred me to put pen to paper in the first place and my signed copy is a prized possession.

He was a very private person who became bored with answering questions from breathless journos whose fathers had been born after the war and thought that sacrifice meant not watching East Enders for a week. I was moved though, when one delightful young lady who was interviewing us both earlier this year thanked him because her (German Jewish) grandparents had been prepared to take poison if Hitler had invaded in 1940 and that without him, she wouldn't have been there. We both had dewey-eyes over that.

A fine man who rose to the occasion and paid the mental price. But more than that, he painted a wonderfully vivid picture of those desperate days, when our country's very existence hung in the balance.

Geoff, I was honoured to know you and I salute you.


Brian 48nav 21st Jul 2018 09:17


There seemed to be a lot of dust about at the time I read your post!

Sadly I never met Geoff, but he seemed a wonderful man.

RIP Sir.

Von Kitebender 21st Jul 2018 10:02

Yes, RIP Geoffrey Wellum. The book "First Light" is truly wonderful. It is in my top 3 of aviation books, along with "Fate is the Hunter" by Ernest K. Gann and "Sagittarius Rising" by Cecil Lewis.

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