This is the enthralling story of a young man who found himself at the epicenter of one of the biggest turning points in recent history – The Battle of Britain. Guided by the diaries that he meticulously kept throughout his wartime experience and that lay unread for over eighty years, Victor Howard Ekins’ story is one of duty, loss, friendship and love. He would meet his wife Kim, a ‘plotter’ serving at RAF Kenley, during the intensity of the Battle of Britain and their relationship would go on to flourish against all odds. He also rose through the ranks to become a Squadron Leader who was admired and respected by those who served with him.
As an inexperienced Sergeant pilot, Victor was posted to 111 Squadron three weeks into the Battle of Britain. The baptism of fire that he went on to experience would stay with him for a lifetime as his squadron was decimated after relentlessly pursuing the tactic of the head-on attack. He was caught on the ground during the bombing of RAF Croydon on 15 August 1940, and would fight in the skies above RAF Kenley during ‘The Hardest Day’. He would also be one of the airmen tasked with defending London against the first of the huge daylight bombing raids that took place on 7 September 1940.
After 111 Squadron was withdrawn from the front line due to its extreme losses, Victor was posted to 501 Squadron. On 27 September 1940, he was shot down and seriously injured as a bullet passed through his stomach and smashed into the controls of his Hurricane. Miraculously, he would go on to land by parachute in a Canadian field hospital, the staff of which were able to save his life and would return to the action within just 8 weeks.
Victor became part of the brotherhood of 501 Squadron and served on the front line for a grueling twenty-one months before eventually being given a rest. A promotion to Squadron Leader followed where he was given command of 19 Squadron and placed at the heart of offensive operations over occupied Europe. After a year of intense action, Victor would form an unforgettable bond with his ‘boys’ who would forever hold a special place in his heart.
One of Our Own is a unique insight into the mind and experiences of one of Churchill’s ‘Few’, a natural leader and a good man.