Spitfire pilot praises RAF

A FORMER Spitfire pilot and winner of seven military medals, including the DFC, urged British and American in charge of forces in Afghanistan to be very careful.

Friday, 19th October 2001, 12:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 8:22 pm

David Matthews, 79, of Eversley Road, who flew missions for the desert airforce during the second war, has been glued to the television coverage since the start of the air strikes last week.

He agreed with retaliation for the terrorist attacks on American on September 11, but warned that President Bush should be careful not to have protracted combat.

Afghanistan is a dangerous terrain, he added. But the modern pilot is so good and professional. But they should be very careful. I admire the RAF pilots of today. They do such a good job.

An extremely modest man, Mr Matthews s claim to fellow regulars at the Wilton pub is that he finished the war two-up - because although he managed to wreck four Spitfires, he actually brought down six enemy planes.

He volunteered at 18 when war broke out and on one occasion had to ditch into the Mediterranean during a dog-fight over Sicily.

I went into the water and was floating around for over four hours worried about the sharks, he said.

After the war Mr Matthews was responsible for rewriting the Spitfire users manual based on what he had experienced.