A quiet English churchyard in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, is the last resting place of an airman who lost his life fighting in the skies over southern England in October 1940. Author Simon Beer came across this grave in 1998 and discovered that nobody in the town was aware that ‘One of the Few’ Battle of Britain pilots lay in their parish. He determined to discover more about this hero and years of research led to this biography. Peter joined the RAF in November 1937 on a four-year short service commission at the age of twenty. In July 1938 he was posted to No. 87 Squadron being equipped with the then new Hawker Hurricane fighter. After war had been declared the Squadron was posted to Boos in France in support of the British Expeditionary Force. In March 1940 he was transferred to 501 Squadron at Tangmere, Sussex, and then again in April to 74 Squadron as an operational pilot at Hornchurch in Essex, equipped with Spitfires. It was from here that he flew in the Battle of Britain. For those who may have forgotten ‘The Few’, this stirring and yet sad story tells of the all-too-short life of one of the 544 young men who gave everything to defend Great Britain from Nazi aggression and invasion.
SALUTE TO ONE OF ‘THE FEW’ The Life of Flying Officer Peter Cape Beauchamp St John RAF
The story of one of the 544 members of the ‘Few’ who died during the Battle of BRitain, sparked by the author’s chance discovery of Peter St John’s grave in an English churchyard.