Battle of Britain Day
Scrambling to defend Britain.
Image: Royal Air Force Museum
We salute the Royal Air Force on Battle of Britain Day.
On the 16th August, 1940, the German Air Force launched over 1,700 sorties against airfields and radar stations in the South of England, and on London.
The desperate resistance put up by Fighter Command of the Royal Air Force over the next month saw some extraordinary deeds. . . Flight Lieutenant James Nicolson of No.249 Squadron won the Victoria Cross after staying in his burning aircraft to shoot down one of the aircraft attacking Britain. . .
By October, RAF pilots had shot down so many Luftwaffe aircraft that the Nazis would decide to call off their invasion, but not their attacks on Britain. The Second World War had yet to be won.
A few minutes from the Battle of Britain film -
Re the movie scene, we know you'll try not to be shocked by the cigarette.
"Total British civilian losses from July to December 1940 were 23,002 dead and 32,138 wounded, with one of the largest single raids on 19 December 1940, in which almost 3,000 civilians died". (Wiki, which provides a well-documented analysis of the Battle of Britain.)
One of those who survived the Second World War was Sqn Ldr Neville Duke. His story is emblematic of British gallantry during the war and revealing of the decades that followed.
Fighting with Britain as pilots in the RAF were 145 Poles, 127 New Zealanders, 112 Canadians, 88 Czechoslovakians, 28 Belgians, 32 Australians, 25 South Africans, 13 French, 7 Americans, 10 Irish, and one each from Jamaica, the British Mandate of Palestine, and Southern Rhodesia. (Wiki)
Did we mention that with their valiant defence the RAF helped to stop the evil of the Nazis - known in German as National Socialists? We should have.