Tom ‘Ginger’ Neil was described by one of his sons as belonging to a generation of heroes.
Wing Commander Neil flew more than 140 missions and shot down 14 enemy planes during the Second World War, making him a near triple ace.
The term ace is given to a pilot who has shot down five enemy aircraft.
He flew Hurricanes and Spitfires during his service between 1938 and 1964 and has multiple awards for bravery.
Wing Commander Neil, who lived near Bungay in Suffolk, died peacefully on Wednesday, three days before his 98th birthday.
He outlived his wife Eileen, who died in 2014.
The pair met at Biggin Hill while she was working as a WAAF officer and they were married for more than 70 years.
They had three sons, who he leaves behind.
His middle son Patrick Neil, 69, said: “I like to bracket my father with his generation.
“I think that generation were heroes because of their instinctive notion of duty and their instinctive notion of others.
“They did things as it wasn’t just about you; it was there to be done and you did it.”
He added that his father’s generation “didn’t understand the term celebrity” and had “incredible humility”.