Battle of Britain Hero
Group Captain Edward Preston “Hawkeye” Wells, one of the RAF’s most outstanding WWII pilots has died at the age of 89. Born in Cambridge (NZ) on 26 July 1916 and educated at Cambridge High School, Wells was called up a month after WWII broke out in 1939. He learned to fly at New Plymouth and Woodbourne and arrived in England in 1940 when the Battle of Britain was at its peak. He is credited with destroying 13 enemy aircraft, 3 probable destroyals and damaging 15. For these incredible feats he earned the nickname “Hawkeye” among his peers and was the first pilot to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in August 1941 for showing “showing the greatest courage and determination”. Johnnie Johnson, the RAF’s most successful WWII pilot, considered him the “complete Wing Leader and the finest shot and most accurate marksman in Fighter Command.” Wells’ coolness under pressure became legendary. When a shouted warning came through that a Messerschmitt was on their tails, Wells answered: “It’s okay, it’s only a Spitfire”. Wells retired from the RAF in 1960 as a Group Captain and later moved to Spain from where he traveled the world in search of subtropical fruit species, many of which he grew commercially in Spain.
Edward Preston Wells: 1916 – 2005