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"We had made a difference, we "Few"–I had to admit it. We hadn't beaten the Nazis, but we'd shown they couldn't get everything their own way. We'd given the bully a black eye and winded him a little. And maybe there was honour in that after all. Yes, I think that maybe there was."
—Harry Woods[4]

Harry Woods (born 1921) was a pilot belonging to the 11 Group in the Royal Air Force. He was the only son of his parents, Mr and Mrs Woods. Harry had a sister, Edith, whom became a nurse. In January 1939, Harry became a pilot just a year before England entered into war. He fought in the Battle of Britain from July to October 1940.

Biography[]

Early life[]

Harry was born in 1921[3] to Mr and Mrs Woods. He had one sister, Edith. Harry grew up in a small village, possibly outside of London. As a young child, he saw an aeroplane and decided to become a pilot.

Battle of Britain[]

In January 1939, Harry joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve at age eighteen. He was given the rank of sergeant and the VR paid for his flying lessons. After war was declared in September, Harry was called into service and trained to be a Spitfire pilot. He was assigned to 11 Group, which covered South East England and was the closest to the German bases in France. Harry arrived at the base at the end May 1940 and only a few short days later participated in the Dunkirk evacuation. During his first time in battle, he thought had shot at a German plane but instead had nearly shot down a British plane. In the meantime, Harry made friends with Mike "Lenny" Leonard, despite getting off on the wrong foot.

A few days after Dunkirk, Harry went to London to visit his sister Edith, whom was a nurse. There he saw the public's negative perception of the RAF after the evacuation. In July, Harry had to bale out of his plane when it became unusable mid-battle. He landed nearby in the English countryside. The following month, the Germans bombed the base. Harry joined the other pilots in attempting to retaliate, but was forced to return to the base. A few days later, he went to visit Lenny in the hospital after he had lost his leg in battle. Harry later shot down a German plane, telling himself "This is for Lenny."

In September, the Germans began bombing London and Harry's parents took in a child, Peter. Harry flew into a rage when Peter spouted off fascist remarks. His parents calmed him down and Harry made up with Peter. The next month, Harry and his friend Harriet, a Women's Auxiliary Air Force member, saw a British plane crash land. They went to the plane and met Waldemar Gorka, a Polish pilot. Several days later, Harry had to bale out after his plane was hit, which had also injured his leg. He landed in the ocean and was soon joined by a German pilot. When a boat came to their rescue, Harry forced the fishermen to help the German as well. He was devastated by the German's death only a few minutes later.

1941[]

Harry's leg was treated and he soon went back to fighting. A few months later in April 1941, he received a government pamphlet on the Battle of Britain. Feeling it did not reflect the reality of the situation, Harry was unable to really read it. His parents later wrote to say that they were proud and that he was a "part of history." Harry felt that they and everyone else he knew were also a part of history for their own contributions. However, he ultimately decided that the pamphlet carried some truth and stated that "we Few" had "made a difference."

Personality and traits[]

Harry was generally good natured and liked to joke around. He loved flying and the RAF, which he was able to talk about at length with passion. Harry sometimes said the wrong thing usually due to preconceived notions. For example, he questioned what women from the Women's Auxiliary Air Force if "bombs start[ed] falling," which lead to a chewing out from Edith. Harry's opinions on many things gradually changed due to his experiences or by talking to his family and friends. He eventually realized that life was not always black and white, particularly after an encounter with a German pilot.

Family tree[]

The Woods Family Tree
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mr Woods
 
Mrs Woods
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Harry Woods
(b. 1921)
 
Edith Woods

Behind the scenes[]

Appearances[]

References[]

See also[]


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