Ted Sly, from Ballina
Ted Sly, from Ballina

Ted?s off to celebrate Battle of Britain heroes

By DAWN COHEN

BALLINA man Ted Sly will represent Aust- ralia at a final goodbye to heroes from the Battle of Britain. The Royal Air Force and the Airleague are flying the former spitfire pilot and nine other Australians to London for the last me- morial in honour of World War II veterans who fought a three-month air battle against Hitler's Germans. About 200 veterans and 700 guests, includ- ing the Duke of Edinburgh, will attend a banquet at Northolt on September 15, the Battle of Britain commemoration day. The Australians who fought in the battle, thought to be about 35, have all died, but Ted and the nine other former fighter pilots will represent them. "We are just their shadows," the 87-year- old said. "There were heavy casualties. "I am going to honour them and remem- ber the ones who did not come back. "They are directly responsible for our freedom today." The fifth generation Australian was trained by Battle of Britain legend Neville Duke, the first pilot to break the sound bar- rier in the UK. "He was the finest fighter pilot I ever knew," he said. Of 2917 pilots who defended Britain be- tween July and October 1940, 25 Australians were eligible for the Battle of Britain Clasp indicating they flew at least one operational sortie. About 10 others fought in linked roles. Many pilots had only 10 hours of experi- ence in the spitfires, Mr Sly said. The battle forced Hitler to reconsider in- vading Great Britain, laying the foundations for victory in Europe. Mr Sly was chosen by the organisers to co-ordinate the selection of Australian repre- sentatives because he initiated the Australian Spitfire Memorial Defence League. The fund rewards innovative ideas in de-

fending Australia with grants of between $10,000 and $12,000. The former Sydneysider, who moved to the Northern Rivers last month, said he was looking forward to his business class seat. "When I flew the spitfire, it was faultless in the air, but a very tight squeeze. "This time, I am taking the Mercedes." n What do you think? Phone the Star Feedback line on 6624 3266 or email opinions@northernstar.com.au



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