The news filtered down today through various websites that Kenneth McGlashan's former steed, Hawker Hurricane P2902, is set to fly once more. Shot down over Dunkirk in 1940, a young Kenneth was forced down after an aerial engagement with a German fighter. Now, after a prolonged restoration process, the sky calls again.
Personally, the news excited me on one hand and saddened me a little on the other. I wrote the biography of Squadron Leader Kenneth McGlashan AFC, or 'Mac', in the book titled, 'Down to Earth'. Published by Grub Street in 2007, there were hopes even then that the first flight might not be too far away. Kenneth had passed away, but his lovely widow Doreen continued to live in hope of witnessing that first flight. Sadly, that was not to be.
As I ponder the imminent flight, my mind is more stirred by memories of a wonderful husband and wife. Two generous people that took me into their home and shared the story of their lives in a way that remains with me still. I felt more like a friend than a biographer, as Mac and I would sit by the fireplace, sipping on tea and chatting. All the while my tape recorder's wheels would steadily turn until a tell-tale click would remind me that it was time to change the tape. They were hours that I still treasure.
And when Mac was gone, I would visit Doreen, often with my children. She could be found sitting by the sunny window at the front of their home as I drove up the driveway. She managed to see the Hurricane under restoration, but unfortunately she did not live to see it fly again.
Writing 'Down to Earth' was special in so many ways. It was my first book, but it was much more. Mac had flown throughout the war and was one of the Battle of Britain's treasured 'Few' and now he lived quietly among us, with his proud heritage only surfacing in the public arena from time to time. It was truly an honour to know Kenneth McGlashan, but I felt even more privileged to call him a friend.
Rest in Peace 'Mac'.Image via Aerodynamic Media.