The last surviving ace who fought in the Battle of Britain has died, aged 101.

Wg Cmdr Paul Farnes was one of 3,000 Allied pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain, considered to be the first decisive battle to be fought entirely in the air. He died peacefully at his home on Tuesday morning, The Times reported. There are now just two surviving Battle of Britain pilots left.

Farnes, a Hurricane pilot, was the last surviving ace, an accolade referring to those who brought down at least five enemy planes. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal, the highest honour in the air force for non-officers.

Last year, he was the only airman in good enough health to attend the annual memorial service which commemorates the pilots who fought in the war. The group are known as ‘the few’ after the famous line Winston Churchill’s speech: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”

In the first month of the Battle of Britain, Farnes destroyed five enemy planes and damaged another. By the end of the war, he had destroyed six enemy aircraft, possibly destroyed another, and damaged a further six. His record led him to be presented with the medal in October 1940 and commissioned as an officer.

Farnes initially joined the RAF as a volunteer reserve in 1938, the year before the second world war broke out, but moved to Gloucestershire’s No501 Squadron in the regular RAF, with whom he fought in the Battle of France in May 1940.

Despite his achievements, Farnes recently said he had “no particular feelings” about the battle, adding that he “quite enjoyed it really”. He also dismissed claims that his fellow pilots were brave, saying: “I don’t think the average chap was brave at all. He was trained to do a job and did it well.”

Farnes went to serve in Malta, North Africa, and Iraq, and led two squadrons in the UK before retiring from the RAF in 1958. He then set up a hotel in Worthing, West Sussex.

He is survived by two of his children, a daughter, Linda, and son, Jonathan.

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