"The few" are becoming fewer. Seven Spitfire pilots from World War 2 have died in recent months, among them a South African and two women, one of whom was 101. Strictly speaking, only two of the seven were part of "the few" whom British prime minister Winston Churchill mentioned in a speech during the war. He was referring to the Battle of Britain, which was fought in the skies over the UK from July 10 to October 31 1940. Churchill told the House of Commons on August 20: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." The speech quickly became one of his most famous, and inspired a nation that had known only defeats in the war before victory against Germany’s Luftwaffe came. Soon there will be no-one left who flew Spitfires in that war, so let’s include all the survivors under the heading of "the few". Even curmudgeonly Churchill might not have objected — and anyway, the two women pilots were symbiotically connected to "the few". Mary Ellis, 101, and Jo...

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