A cursory study of the Battle of Britain will more than likely lead the reader to learn about Geoffrey Wellum. I was fortunate to have his neighborhood priest Rev. Shane Griffiths forward my request onto Mr Wellum’s daughter, Deborah Scarfe who graciously facilitated his signing in March 2017. I was thrilled to have this highly accomplished and decorated pilot from 92 Squadron – Spitfires autograph the book. It was of such men that Winston Churchill wrote the immortal words “never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”.
Just 4 months later in July 2017, I was deeply saddened to learn of her death from an illness she had been battling for some time. At no point during her very cordial and warm correspondence with me did she indicate that she was ill.
Mr Wellum was a gracious public figure for many years but the inevitable toll of age had slowed him considerably. I am therefore all the more indebted to him for signing. Approaching anyone over 90 as a complete stranger, thousands of miles away is not an exact science. Often I have to follow up various leads before getting any feedback. I am grateful to Sara Liddle at The Old Inn at Mullion for her informative replies without which I might have otherwise given up. The inevitable sadly occured and on Wednesday 18 July 2018, Geoffrey Wellum passed away at his home in Cornwall….fittingly, a place he sacrificed everything to defend, over 70 years ago. His son Neil Wellum summed it perfectly:
The greatest tribute we can pay to him and those he flew with, is to never take for granted the freedoms they fought to protect.Neil Wellum