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Belsen concentration camp


Reunion at Duxford
Ken Adam Artist
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We used to have an annual reunion at Duxford, and it was amazing that with all the pilots who were still alive, you immediately – I mean, I had been in films for God knows how many years and that, but you immediately had a rapport which you never had with anybody else; it was unbelievable, you know. And they called me Heine, my nickname, and so on, and Pinkie Stark was my squadron commander, reminded me of a lot of things: that he'd stayed in my house with my mother in Hampstead when we went to Johnny Baldwin's wedding – forgotten all that, but they were still living in the past, really.

And the sad part is that there's nobody around any longer, you know, so there's no sense in my going to Duxford, you know. There's one pilot of 609 Squadron, who is Sir Joe Atkinson, but I never knew him – he was during the Battle of Britain, and he was shot down over the Channel and he got away with it, you know, even though he was for six hours in the water. And he's one of the… he's 92 or 93, and one of the most educated, nicest men… I didn't know him at the time when I joined 609, but we are very friendly, and I invite him down to the RAC, my club, you know. And he's the only one left, you know? It's unbelievable!

Sir Kenneth Adam (1921-2016), OBE, born Klaus Hugo Adam, was a production designer famous for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, he trained as an architect in London, but in October 1943, he became one of only two German-born fighter pilots to fly with the RAF in wartime. He joined 609 Squadron where he flew the Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber. After the war, he entered the film industry, initially as a draughtsman on This Was a Woman. His portfolio of work includes Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George; he won an Oscar for both films. Having a close relationship with Stanley Kubrick, he also designed the set for the iconic war room in Dr Strangelove. Sir Ken Adam was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Duxford, Hampstead, 609 Squadron, Battle of Britain, English Channel, John Robert Baldwin, Sir Joe Atkinson

Duration: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 15 August 2011