Following the release in July this year of Christopher Nolan’s’ epic film ‘Dunkirk’, we were delighted to discover that the grandfather of alumni James, Louis, Thomas and William Storrar was in fact a teenage flying ace, who played an important part in the battle. Flying Officer James ‘Jas’ Storrar born in 1920 joined the RAF in 1938. He flew many missions to protect the troops of the BEF as they were being evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk. The war hero, who died in 1995, aged 74, recalled his experiences many times over the years and was a valued contributor to a number of books about the conflict. He told aviation historian Chaz Bowyer:
“I knew it was a catastrophe for the Army and towards the end when they were using the small boats, the thing that struck me was the pall of smoke from the oil tanks at Dunkirk,”
Miraculously surviving Dunkirk ‘Jas’ continued to have an eventful war. In November 1940 his squadron sailed to Takoradi on the coast of West Africa, aboard the aircraft carrier Furious. It then flew the “stepping stone” route across Africa to Egypt. On one occasion bad weather forced him down in the jungle from where it took him two days and three nights to walk more than 70 miles to the Firestone rubber plantation near Monrovia in Liberia.
A tribute to Jas Storrar, written when he died, highlighted his record of 15 confirmed kills as a pilot in the Battle of Britain as well as describing him as “a giant of a man”. Well over 6ft tall, he was barely able to squeeze into the cockpit of his fighter,” it read. “Over the years he retained something of the flamboyant style of a Battle of Britain pilot. His jackets were lined with red silk and his Jaguar XJS 12 bore the registration JAS.”
In 1944 ‘Jas’ was offered an extended commission, but opted instead to study veterinary science at Edinburgh University. He later joined the family practice which is still going strong on Tarvin Road in Chester, with the sixth generation of Storrar vets continuing to take care of Chester’s pets – the latest being James Storrar (OKS 1996).
To read more about the Jas’ wartime exploits click on this link: http://www.leaderlive.co.uk/features/2017/08/07/gallery/remembering-chester-s-jas-storrar-teenage-flying-ace-who-took-part-in-dunkirk-92252/