Military historian Ken moves from Hurricane Drive to Spitfire Lodge

Author and military historian Ken Ford has made the move from one home associated with a World War Two fighter aircraft to another. Ken and his wife Valda have become new Owners at one of Churchill Retirement Living’s newest developments, Spitfire Lodge in Southampton.

Their previous house on the outskirts of Southampton was on Hurricane Drive, a road which commemorated an aerial battle in 1940 that took place in the skies above the city. A dog-fight between Flight Lieutenant Nicholson’s Hurricane fighter and two Messerschmitt 109 fighters resulted in victory for the British pilot and the award of a Victoria Cross for his valour – the only such medal awarded during the Battle of Britain. In the action Nicholson’s own aircraft was set ablaze and destroyed, and he crash-landed near the site of Ken and Valda’s previous home on Hurricane Drive. There is also a Nicholson Close nearby.

When the couple settled on buying a new home in Churchill’s Spitfire Lodge, the connection with another World War Two fighter seemed appropriate. Spitfire Lodge was so named in recognition of the association of the city with the Supermarine Spitfire. The iconic aircraft was designed just three miles away to the south at Woolston and built just three miles away to the north at Eastleigh airfield. “As a military author with around 35 published books to my credit, I found the links between these aircraft rather fitting,” suggested Ken.

As locals, Valda and Ken have always wished to remain in the Southampton area. “Who wouldn’t?” commented Valda. “The city has all we need for our retirement: good restaurants, cinemas, theatres and many cultural establishments. Our new Churchill apartment has plenty of parking, good bus links just outside the front door, a doctor’s surgery right opposite and we have wonderful views from our balcony.” “There is also the country’s best Premier League football team just down the road,” added Ken.

Their decision to downsize from a four-bedroom home to a retirement apartment was made after a good deal of deliberation. They knew that as the years passed the future had to be seriously considered. “We were determined to get things right. It is a given fact that as you grow older your health and mobility will decline. We decided it was the right time to make the next move whilst we were still fit and able to do so,” said Ken.

The opportunity for them to move into a new Churchill Retirement Living two-bedroom apartment came just at the right time. The extra bedroom is used as a study to allow Ken to continue writing,

Here in Spitfire Lodge we are able to move on to the next stage of our lives together. We now live in a delightful apartment with secure surroundings, have an excellent and attentive Lodge Manager in Karen and have many new friends. We now plan to sit on our balcony, sip chilled white wine and watch someone else cut the grass!

Spitfire Lodge is a collection of 73 one and two bedroom privately owned retirement apartments and shared facilities, designed exclusively for the over 60’s. Offering quality retirement accommodation and safe and independent living, the development is in a convenient location close to local shops and amenities. 

To find out more about the apartments available at Spitfire Lodge, visit the Show Complex open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, call 02380 985603 or visit