'Ginger' Lacey, copyright RAF Museum Hendon

Ginger Lacey was one of the highest scoring NCO pilots flying in the Battle. Like other successful fighter pilots, he was blessed with natural talent and a great deal of luck. He survived many incidents which might just have easily resulted in his being killed.

His first operational experience was in France where his Squadron had been sent on May 10th. He achieved a number of kills in the subsequent fighting. Back in England he resumed his extremely successful record during the Battle of Britain. During the Battle he was credited with no less than 28 kills, becoming the second highest scorer of any RAF pilot in the Battle.

On 13th September, he shot down an He111 which had just bombed Buckingham Palace. But in this encounter, his aircraft had received a lethal hit. Then, on 15th September, one of the heaviest days of the Battle, he had an outstanding day shooting down no less than 3 Me109s. But then on 17th September, he was himself shot down by an Me109, but managed to bale out uninjured.

He continued to notch up successes during the rest of the month and into October. Lacey during the Battle was shot down or forced to crash land no less than nine times.

Lacey went on with his flying career over the next two years when he was commissioned. But before that, he had won the DFM and Bar. He ended up being posted to India where he became Commanding Officer of 17 Squadron, operating in the Burma Campaign. After the war, he obtained a permanent commission and remained in the air force until retirement in 1967. There remains a memorial tablet dedicated to this extremely successful fighter pilot in the Parish Church of Bridlington in Yorkshire.