The book tells the wartime story of an Ipsley Lodge member – W.Bro.Len Thorne. The 20 year old Len Thorne joined the RAF in May 1940, and after two hectic tours of operational duty as a fighter pilot, he was posted to AFDU (Air Fighting Development Unit) and remained there as a test pilot for the rest of the war.
He flew the Spitfire in two tours of operational duty and also test flew the Mustang and Focke Wulf 190, and was a colleague of many of the great fighter aces. Fortunately for us, Len kept an insightful diary, which, set alongside his logbook tells a unique story of the AFDU, tasked with developing operational tactics and testing captured enemy aircraft.
The diary and logbook have been painstakingly collated by his daughter Gill Griffin and her husband Barry, and became this book. The book is available on Amazon, all of the book royalties go to the RAFBF and the Royal British Legion.
W Bro Len Thorne, Spitfire and P51 Mustang pilot and Past Master of Ipsley Lodge No 6491 is now featured in the newly refurbished American Air Museum (AAM) at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.
On Friday 18th March 2016 W.Bro. Barry, Gill and thier son were invited to the official reopening of the American Air Museum at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford for families of featured airmen and other contributors. The day before, on Thursday 17th March the Grand reopening had been held, with HRH Duke of Kent, the Most Worshipful Grand Master presiding.
W.Bro.Len Thorne was Worshipful Master of Ipsley Lodge in 1972, and initiated his son-in-law, W.Bro.Barry Griffin into Ipsley Lodge in October 1972, and Exalted him into Holy Royal Arch in 1982.
W.Bro. Len Thorne passed to the Grand Lodge above in 2008.