At Goodwood SpeedWeek presented by Mastercard, we celebrated the life and achievements of the brave American racing driver and fighter pilot, Billy Fiske, who fought and died for Britain in World War II, taking off from the nearby Tangmere airfield. To get a feel for his daring and dangerous exploits in WWII fighters, we sent Dermot O’Leary up for a dogfight re-enactment between Spitfires and a German Messerschmitt fighter.
Video: Dermot O'Leary has the ride of his life in a Spitfire
Our film on Billy documents a local hero of the war on his journey from being Bentley Blower racer and Le Mans to being an aerial combat ace aboard a Hurricane fighter. His flight commander described him as “the best pilot I’ve ever known. It was unbelievable how good he was. He picked it up so fast it wasn’t true. He was a natural”. Billy was lost defending 601 squadron’s home base. He would be commemorated and celebrated as a hero.
Dermot’s experience in the sky, learning along with us just a hint of what it would have been like for the brave pilots, along with our film on Billy Fiske, commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.