Some seventy-five years ago in 1940,Winston Churchill in the British Parliament delivered his famous tribute to the Royal Air Force pilots who keptthe Nazi at bay.’” The Few”- the RAF pilots who Churchill had in mind when he said “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few” – included a Bajan.
Although many Barbadian pilots and aircrew fought during World War II, including our first Prime Minister, the RE Errol Barrow, the Battle of Britain London Monument shows only one Bajan pilot who fought duringthe summer of 1940: “P/O A R deL INNISS”.
Wing Commander, Aubrey Inniss, DFC, wartime fighter ace, was born in Barbados on November 21,1916. He joined the RAF in January 1939 on a service commission and by September when war broke out he had been trained and was posted to 236 Squadron, flying the Blenheim 4Fs on anti-shipping duties.
On September 23,1940 Inniss had his first kill when he shot down a Heinkel He 111. In 1941 he was posted to the 248 Squadron, flying the Beaufighter which wasa powerful and much faster aircraft with four 20mm cannon and six machine guns. Patrolling from St Eval in Cornwall to as far as the Bay of Biscay, he was able to shoot down two Ju 88s in January and March 1943.
In July of the same year he was awarded his DFC having added another victim to his tally. He was later promoted to Wing Commander and ended the war with seven kills.
Aubrey Inniss retired from the RAF in 1958 and along with his wife Ruth, ran a fishing pub at Sheepwash, North Devon. After his wife’s death in1975, he spent most of his time in Barbados and died there on January 30th, 2003 at the age of 86.