Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown’s death has been announced today (February 21).
Long-standing aviation journalist and author, Paul Beaver, gave the news this afternoon with “regret”.
Cpt Brown, 97, who lived in West Sussex, came to Uckfield in 2014 to attend the unveiling of the memorial to hero Belgian Spitfire pilot, Eugene Seghers.
He sat in the VIP area at the ceremony next to Air Marshal Freddie Sowrey from Herons Ghyll.
Cpt Brown was known as Britain’s greatest pilot and was described by the Daily Mail as a hero who made “Biggles look like a wimp”.
The memorial to Flt Lt Seghers was unveiled in the garden of the Highlands Inn at Ridgewood.
Seghers died when a V-1 “flying bomb” heading for Uckfield exploded above Ridgewood.
He is credited with saving the town from a disaster which could have cost many lives.
The memorial was built through public subscription in a campaign led by Framfield Road resident, Duncan Bennett, who is now deputy town mayor.
In a tribute posted on the UckfieldNews.com Facebook page, Mr Bennett said:
“Sad that the nation never knighted him, but a true hero and Great Briton.
“He typified the spirit that pulled a nation to victory and into the jet age.
“I was indeed honoured to make his acquaintance and to hear his very personal link to the story of Eugene Seghers first hand.
“Thank you for your service ‘Winkle’ and may you rest in peace.
“Blue Skies sir!”