Maureen Hyatt, from North Cheam in Sutton, was a child in the Second World War.

Now 94-years-old, Maureen recalls the memorable moment the RAF pilots saved her life on her train journey evacuating from London to Wales in 1939.

Maureen’s daughter, Shirley Hancock, also of North Cheam, contacted the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity, to share her mother’s wartime memories ahead of Remembrance Day (Saturday, November 11).

Retold by Shirley, Maureen’s story highlights the bravery and courage of the RAF pilots on the day of her mother’s evacuation:

Shirley said: “My mum, ten and a half years old at the time, was being evacuated from London to Wales on a Red Cross train with my grandmother, my two aunts and my uncle.

“My mum recalls playing with her younger brother in the corridor of the train while her mum sat holding her four-year-old sister on her lap, with her second sister sitting beside them.

“The train was packed solid with parents, teachers, and children with their belongings.

“On the roof of this train was the big Red Cross symbol.

“The train as a rule was known for ferrying wounded soldiers of war and bringing them home, but on this occasion, it was heading to Wales to take the children out of the City of London to safety.

“Mum recalls the German planes coming into sight and machine-gunning the train.

“She remembers the sounds of the children and teachers screaming ‘Lay on the floor!’ and getting down on the floor as the Germans opened fire, hitting the roof and penetrating the sides of the carriages.

“She could feel the train racing faster and faster to get further down the track and under the Severn Tunnel.

“As the train driver put the train into a fight for life flat out speed, mum recalls, amongst the screams, the roaring sounds of the Spitfires; it was the RAF.

“The boys from Biggin Hill had a dog fight overhead and they fought for their lives.

“The courage and the bravery in the skies above, took the heat off the train, enabling the driver to continue and get the children into the tunnel safely.

“Mum recalls the other children shouting, ‘it’s our planes fighting back’.

“What they never expected that day, was to witness the bravery of our RAF pilots; we owe them our lives.

"So I think you'll find it's true that never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."