Youngest Air Vice-Marshal went to grammar school

THIS WEEK IN 1976: Big crowds for the big band sound

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On this day in 1905 Sir Harry Broadhurst was born in Frimley, Surrey.

He joined Portsmouth Grammar School in 1915 and left in 1922 to train as a surveyor. Meanwhile, he served in the Hampshire Territorial Army and was seconded to the RAF on a short service commission.

Known as Broady, he earned his reputation as a fighter leader early in the Second World War at squadron, group and station level, personifying the fighting spirit of the RAF.

Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1940, he served with the British Expeditionary Force in France, then successively commanded Coltishall, Wittering and Hornchurch stations during the Battle of Britain.

He often piloted a Spitfire with squadrons under his command and his final kill claims were 13 destroyed, seven probables and 10 damaged.

Broadhurst took command of the Desert Air Force in 1943 becoming the youngest Air Vice-Marshal in the RAF.

After serving with distinction in support of the Eighth Army, he was posted back to the UK to take part in the planning for D-Day. He died in Chichester in 1995.