'Spit' test pilot slams yob culture

A CHIEF test pilot during the Second World War has bemoaned today's yob culture and Government polices which he believed has “betrayed” his fellow comrades.

A CHIEF test pilot during the Second World War has bemoaned today's yob culture and Government polices which he believed has “betrayed” his fellow comrades.

Alex Henshaw. 93, gave a damning verdict saying it was now not safe to live in England - more than 60 years after his team flew thousands of test flights preparing Spitfire planes for the war.

And he called on the Government to tighten up on law and order and allow officers more time to fight crime.

He said: “It 's so sad that all those young men willingly gave their lives to protect that way of life in towns and villages.


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“But if they were asked now about how they felt they would have just one word - betrayed. In 1940, anyone could go out anywhere in the country unmolested.

“Now you pick up the paper and you wonder if it is safe to live in your own country. Some law and order policies are utterly stupid and I think there are problems throughout the whole gambit of law.”

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He claimed: “The politicians are doing nothing to stop the problem we face now in every town, city and village.”

Mr Henshaw, who lives in Newmarket, was the chief test pilot for the Spitfire through most of the war and the task was often fraught with danger. During that time, there were 127 accidents and four pilots in Mr Henshaw's team died.

But now he believes the war effort has been lost on today's generation, which suffers from a lack of discipline, he claimed.

“The older generation has been betrayed and there's no doubt about that at all,” he said. “Manners have gone by the board and so has integrity. I think the whole thing is discipline - which is something sadly lacking in today's society.”

Before volunteering to join the RAF at the outbreak of the war, Mr Henshaw won the prestigious King's Cup air race at the age of 25.

He initially wanted to sign up as a fighter pilot but following a “discouraging response”, he became the chief test pilot at the Spitfire factory in the West Midlands.

Earlier this month , Mr Henshaw was back behind the controls of the “Spit” for a special event commemorating the 70th anniversary of its first flight.

Speaking at the time, he said: “For me this really is full circle as I first flew the Spitfire from Eastleigh on my birthday in November 1939 and this is the last time I will go up in one - so it's very nostalgic.”

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