Max Aitken, copyright RAF Museum Hendon

Max Aitken was the son of Lord Beaverbrook, who had been appointed by Churchill as the head of the new Ministry of Aircraft Production. In this position, his father played a very important part in cranking up the pace of aircraft production, particularly of Spitfires. Consequently, he forged a close relationship with Dowding. Both men had sons flying as fighter pilots in the Battle.

Max Aitken had learnt to fly in 1935 when he joined an auxiliary squadron in the RAF. When it came to war, Aitken had become CO of 601 Squadron. He led this with some distinction, being awarded the DFC in July 1940.

After the Battle was over, Aitken had a varied and successful career, being responsible for several more kills. Over the course of the war he was credited with 16 victories He ended the war as a Group Captain. Aitken was a friend of Richard Hillary, and shared much of the life described by Hillary in his book. After the war, Aitken joined his father’s Express Group and briefly served as MP for Holborn having been elected in the 1945 election. He died in 1985.