by Angela Cole
In 1922 a little boy named William walked with his mum from his home in Bower Street, Maidstone, to St Michael’s School for his first day at school.
Eighty-nine years on, he returned to the same school hall, but this time wearing his Distinguished Flying Cross as one of Churchill’s “Few,” to see a plaque unveiled in his honour.
Flt Lt William James Corbin – known as Jimmy – was a pupil at the Douglas Road school before the Second World War, but the current management had no idea until John Pulfer, from the Battle of Britain Historical Society, approached them four months ago to suggest honouring him.
Pupils and staff were joined by the Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Brian Mortimer, the Lord Lieutenant, Lord De L’isle, and other dignitaries and members of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) to honour the hero, now 94, in a ceremony.
Jimmy flew every mark of Spitfire and notched up 1,500 hours flying. His son Brian said: “My dad was a real local. He remembers this school as quite a strict school, but a fair school. One teacher he remembers gave him such a hard slap on his knee that he still remembers it today. But he can’t remember what he had done,” adding: "I am not sure the naughty schoolboy ever left him.”
Jimmy attended St Michael’s until he was 13, moving to Maidstone Technical School, where he later became a teacher.
For the full story, see this week's Kent Messenger.