Next week, Wednesday 10th July will mark the 73rd anniversary of the beginning of one of the most famous conflicts of World War II, the ‘Battle of Britain’.
The battle of Britain was a vital aerial conflict of World War II, between the British and German air forces as the Germans tried to win air superiority over Britain by destroying their airforce, and aircraft industry. The battle continued from July until October 1940 and was the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date. The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, and marked the first defeat of Hitler’s military forces.
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIA (Royal Air Force code P7350) at Kemble Air Day, Kemble Airport, Gloucestershire, England. Owned by the UK Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. (wiki)
"We were all frightened in a way, I suppose, but your adrenalin is flowing and you are concentrating on either not being killed or shooting down somebody else," Bob Foster, Chairman of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, told the BBC.
Mr Foster, who flew over 40 sorties and is the last surviving member of his squadron, also added: "That is all you are thinking about in those few minutes, and then it's all over."
The national memorial, which has the names of the 2,927 pilots who flew in the Battle of Britain inscribed on 15 panels, was unveiled in 2005. In order to begin building The Wing The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust has raised £2.5m, but still needs another £1m to complete the project.
Richard Hunting, chairman of the memorial trust, told the BBC: "Hitler had thought that he could probably invade the British islands, having taken over France with comparative ease.
"He was ready to invade Britain but his people realised he couldn't do that unless he had control of the air.
"The Royal Air Force denied him control of the air and that was the Battle of Britain."