A SPITFIRE pilot who came from New Zealand to protect Britain from the Nazis will be remembered in Bournemouth tomorrow, 80 years after his death.

Pilot Cecil Hight was 22 when he was shot down on the Royal Air Force’s worst day of the Battle of Britain.

At 11am tomorrow, Saturday, wreaths will be laid at Bournemouth East Cemetery in Gloucester Road by the Poole branch and Christchurch branch of the Royal Air Forces Association and the Bournemouth, Poole and District Branch of the Royal Tank Regiment Association.

At around the same time, Bournemouth resident Robert Wilson says he will drink a toast to the fallen pilot at the cemetery, with others welcome to join him.

Cecil Hight, from Tangaraku, was one of 11 Allied airmen killed on August 15, 1940, as 70 German bombers, defended by around 200 fighters, flew in from France to attack airfields and factories in southern England. The Germans called it Schwartze Donnerstag – Black Thursday.

Cecil Hight: when pilot lost his life in aerial war over Dorset

Tony Hart, secretary of the Royal Tank Regiment Association’s Bournemouth, Poole and District branch, said: “We are determined that the 80th anniversary of the death of one of the ‘Immortal Few’ should not pass without recognition.”

Mr Wilson, of Ravine Road, said: “Cecil Hight travelled from New Zealand to save this country as Britain fought on entirely alone in the Battle of Britain. He was one of an important number of air force pilots from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Poland, Czechoslovakia, France and the USA who all volunteered to sacrifice their lives if required in order to protect Britain.”

Pilot Hight’s body was seen coming out of the Spitfire after it was hit. But his parachute did not open and it is thought he had already died from machine gun wounds.

A crowd gathered around the crater left by a large part of the Spitfire wreckage at the corner of Leven Avenue and Walsford Road in Talbot Woods. Pilot Hight was found in a garden Leven Avenue, where Canon Hedley Burrows, the vicar of St Peter’s Church in Bournemouth, said a prayer over the body.

Pilot Hight Road in West Howe named after World War Two Spitfire pilot Cecil Hight

Bournemouth council later named Pilot Hight Road in West Howe in his honour.

The Battle of Britain raged from July 1940 until the end of October.

Mr Wison said: “The figures for the Battle of Britain are horrific. In July 1940, the RAF only had 504 serviceable Hurricane and Spitfire fighters and 1,069 fighter pilots available. Facing the RAF were 824 German fighters and 1,085 German bombers plus 100 reconnaissance aircraft, giving a total of 2,009 enemy aircraft – a four to 1 ratio in the enemy’s favour.

“At this point in the Second World War, the Germans were about to come upon their first really serious opponent. The German air force, the Luftwaffe, had fought in Spain, and then invaded Poland, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Norway, Latvia, Belgium, The Netherlands and France. They wished to invade Britain (Operation Sea Lion) and now Britain faced them alone.

“The RAF had 1,542 pilots killed in this battle and 422 injured, many with severe burns, and 1,744 aircraft destroyed. The Luftwaffe lost at least 2,300 planes in the battle. The Luftwaffe would damage 13,950 Bournemouth properties in the Second World War with 219 lives being lost in Bournemouth and 305 within the greater Bournemouth area.”