John Galloway Edward Haig
4th paternal cousin, 4x removed
John Galloway Haig, my 4th cousin, 4x removed on my paternal grandmother's side of the family was a Flight Lieutenant during World War II. Not only did he fly for the R.A.F., he was actively involved in the Battle Of Britain, the infamous air battle between Britain and Nazi Germany. Although the odds were against England, brave men such as my cousin managed to beat the odds and, more importantly, beat the Luftwaffe and save England from a Nazi invasion.
Born on May 5th, 1909 to Hugh Edwin Haig and Agnes Wotherspoon Galloway (my 3rd cousin, 5x removed), John was a member of the well-known Haig family and his cousins included Field Marshall Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force during WWI. A paper-maker by trade, John was commissioned in 603 Squadron Auxiliary Force on June 11th, 1932. He then went on to reserve after completing his 5-year assignment in 1937.
On August 29th, 1939, as tensions between Nazi Germany rose, John was recalled for full time service in the R.A.F. Britain, the Commonwealth Nations and France all declared war on Nazi Germany on September 1, 1939 when the Nazi's invaded Poland. The world, for the most part, was now at war.
Less than a year after full hostilities began, Nazi Germany, having conquered a number of European countries, including France, set their sites on Great Britain. On July 10th, 1940, the Luftwaffe began a campaign of large scale attacks on England.
The Nazi's campaign was designed to get England to agree to a surrender through dominating the skies over the island. However, thanks to a determined but small group of fighter pilots, an iron-willed Prime Minister (Winston Churchill - another paternal cousin of mine!) and England's secret weapon - radar, the English managed to thwart the Germans and hold off an invasion.
The odds were stacked against the British R.A.F., but through sheer determination and guts, fighter pilots like John Haig saved the day for Britain.
My cousin flew a Spitfire, one of the iconic planes of the R.A.F. during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire, along with the Hurricane, managed to hold their own against the Luftwaffe's fighters and bombers. A full description of my cousin's exploits during the Battle of Britain can be found at the following link: http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/Haig.htm
I never had the privilege of meeting my cousin John, as he passed away in 1976 at the age of 77 when I was only 10 years old. However, I have had the pleasure of corresponding with John's son, my 5th cousin, 3x removed, and he has been a great help in providing information about his family and in putting together more of the Haig family history.
Hopefully there will be more information to come about my connection with the Haig and Galloway families and their combined contributions to our world history.