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Tributes to Battle of Britain ace, 93.

Byline: Special Correspondent news?

A FIGHTER pilot who tested Midland-built Spitfires has died at the age of 93.

Battle of Britain veteran Wing Commander Peter Ayerst put the A famous craft through their paces after they had been produced by Vickers V Armstrong in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham.

The factory produced up to 320 Spitfires and 30 Lancaster bombers a month during the conflict. Mr Ayerst, from Beckenham, A Kent, spent eight years as a fighter pilot with the Royal Air Force throughout the war, before retiring as a wing commander.

A spokesman for Shoreham Aircraft Museum in West Sussex, where the pensioner attended memorial dedications and signing events, said he would be "greatly missed by members of the museum and all those who had the privilege to have spoken to him".

Mr Ayerst joined the RA A Fin1938 on a short service commission and was despatched to France at the outbreak of war.

The former pilot, who flew Hurricanes and Spitfires, survived a confrontation with 27 Messerschmitt Me109s with his Hurricane riddled with bullets.

During the Battle of Britain he shot down the first of his eight kills, a Heinkel He111.

After serving with fighter ace Douglas Bader, Mr Ayerst was A posted to North Africa in 1942 where he was forced to crashland his Hurricane in a minefield.

He later led repeated attacks on enemy motor transport, destroying a Junkers Ju 52 and 17 vehicles.

Mr Ayerst, who was awarded the A Distinguished Flying Cross in December 1944, flew Spitfires on intruder sorties over France before and during D-Day, on bomber escort duty against Germany's V-weapons sites and in support of Vmass daylight raids.

He retired from the RAR FinApril A 1973.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 20, 2014
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