Order by 11:59pm (GMT) on Thursday 17th December for UK Christmas Delivery, or by 14th December for ROW

Battle of Britain 80 – A nation remembers

Battle of Britain 80 – A nation remembers

Welcome to this latest edition of Aerodrome and our regular look at the fascinating world of aeroplanes and the historic aviation scene in the UK.

Eighty years ago this coming weekend, Britain was facing its darkest hour, as the Luftwaffe launched a series of devastating raids intended to finally bring about the destruction of the Royal Air Force and open the way for a seaborne assault against southern England. RAF losses in the final few days of August were at their highest level of the battle and many of their most experienced pilots had been lost or were injured. Airfields had been pounded and the Luftwaffe had shown no sign of weakening their resolve.

From the German perspective, the promised quick victory had not materialised and even though they had shot down many RAF fighters over the past few weeks, there always seemed to be more opposing them every time they returned to English skies. In addition to this, their own losses were significant and pilots were becoming tired. With the RAF now committing Polish and Czech fighter squadrons to the battle, the next few crucial weeks would decide if Britain was to survive this aerial onslaught and stave off the threat of invasion, or if they would need to hurl everything they had left at landing craft approaching the beaches of southern England.

As this year marks the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain and this coming weekend proved to be such a critical period in Britain’s history during the summer of 1940, there really can only be one subject for this latest edition of Aerodrome, a blog tribute to our forebears who fought, or lived through, the Battle of Britain.

The Battle of France is over, the Battle of Britain is about to begin

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Hurricane Mk.I fighters of the RAF operated in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force prior to the Battle of Britain and would give a good account of themselves in combat with superior Luftwaffe forces. This would prove to be a sign of things to come

Following the declaration of war on 3rd September 1939, Britain soon began sending troops and aircraft to France, in an attempt to prevent a devastating conflict from heading west and engulfing northern Europe. Throughout the winter of 1939/40, the ‘Phoney War’ period allowed British and French forces to undertake an intense period of training and a shoring up of defences which were generally viewed as being more than adequate to repel a German attack. This flexing of Allied military muscle was also intended to act as a significant show of force to the German’s, highlighting the strength of opposition they would face should they make the mistake of attacking westwards. Adopting a mainly defensive position, skirmishes did take place between Allied and German reconnaissance units on the ground and in the air, but nothing like what was to unfold at the end of the second week in May.

With the main German thrust coming through the lightly defended Ardennes region, the full force of Blitzkrieg was directed at Allied forces who had been expecting the attack to come through Belgium. With the absence of strategic reserves, the speed of the German advance led to confusion amongst the defenders, with the momentum of the attack quickly dictating an inevitable outcome of the conflict. In the air, French and British airmen fought valiantly and would take a heavy toll of Luftwaffe aircraft. It is thought that air operations during the French campaign would result in the loss of around 1,500 German aircraft, a figure which represented 28% of its front line strength at that time. Clearly, these losses would prove significant during the coming battles over Britain.

Before the month of May 1940 was out, the desperate situation in France had resulted in the order to attempt an evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force through the coastal town of Dunkirk. With thousands of troops stranded on the beaches whilst others fought tenaciously to buy them time, total disaster was averted over the next few days, as the Royal Navy, aided by hundreds of civilian boats, managed to extricate over 300,000 troops from the beaches, often under fire and making the return journey several times, writing a glorious chapter in British history.

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Troops awaiting evacuation on the beaches of Dunkirk following the German attack against France and the low countries

Just as the English Channel had posed severe problems to the Allies during their attempts to rescue the troops of the BEF stranded at Dunkirk, so it would now prove a significant obstacle to the Germans as they looked across it towards the white cliffs of Dover. Although Britain now faced the very real threat of a German seaborne invasion attempt, the Channel provided them with a natural ally the rest of Europe did not have the benefit of. As the German’s paused following their victory in France, they knew they were completely unprepared for an amphibious assault on Britain, particularly one which stood even the slightest chance of success. Transporting an army across the English Channel would be no small undertaking and it has to be remembered that Britain still possessed arguably the most powerful navy in the world at that time, one which would be deployed in force in the event of seaborne attack.

Whilst the German’s drew up their plans for what remained a slightly fanciful cross Channel invasion attempt, both Britain and Germany knew that nothing could happen until the Luftwaffe had secured air superiority over the landing beaches and effectively disabled the Royal Air Force as a fighting unit. Reichmarschall Hermann Goering, Commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, was supremely confident about the coming battle - his airmen were well equipped and battle hardened, possessing some of the finest aircraft in the world and in vastly superior numbers to their demoralised opposition. Surely, nothing could stand in the way of a swift victory, with his confidence almost bordering on arrogance. The scene was set for a mighty clash of eagles and Britain’s ability to prolong the war until America could join the fight. Although at the time this seemed unlikely, crucially and first time, the Luftwaffe would not be having everything their own way.

RADAR - We can see you coming

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Although the huge Chain Home radar masts cited around Britain’s coastline were a vital part of the country’s defences, they were just one component of a fully integrated early warning and command and control system, which would come into its own during the Battle of Britain

Although Luftwaffe airmen must have felt invincible when taking their place in a large formation of aircraft setting course for Britain, they were unaware that the enemy already knew they were coming and would have a fearsome welcoming committee awaiting their arrival. The Ace in Britain’s defensive pack would be the ‘Dowding System’, an integrated ground based command and control system which could not only detect incoming raids, but negated the need for wasteful standing patrols, placing RAF fighters exactly where they needed to be. Even though the German’s were fully aware of Britain’s coastal radar sites, they had no idea how the information they gathered was processed and disseminated, and how it would have a dramatic impact on Fighter Command’s ability to keep meeting the Luftwaffe threat.

The outward detection capability of Britain’s Chain Home (and Chain Home Low) radar sites was backed up by the highly efficient Observer Corps when raids had progressed inland, a uniformed volunteer civil defence force who were charged with identifying and plotting enemy (and friendly) aircraft flying over mainland Britain. Once raiding enemy aircraft had crossed the coast, it was the job of the Observer Corps to identify and track formations, or indeed individual aircraft, providing type, raid strength, height and direction information back to the main control centres in real time. This information was immediately transferred to a command plotting table, where the situation could be quickly assessed and the appropriate attack orders given.

Work on the Dowding command and control system completed prior to the start of the Second World War was intended to increase fighter raid interception rates from a figure of around 40% (which was considered acceptable at that time), to figures in excess of 80% during the Battle of Britain itself, which represented a significant capability improvement. With standing patrols and searching for enemy aircraft now a thing of the past, the pilots of Fighter Command could be where they needed to be, opposing the latest raid, attempting to ensure as few Heinkels and Messerschmitts made it back across the Channel as possible.

By contrast, the Luftwaffe had no such system in place and had very little real-time information on the whereabouts of their RAF adversaries. In actual fact, a huge number of fighter sorties were completed without seeing an RAF Spitfire or Hurricane, but if they did, the British fighters were often in a more advantageous combat position. Despite the fact that the Dowding System undoubtedly proved decisive during the summer of 1940, it would still be down to the skill, bravery and resolve of individual Fighter Command pilots and air gunners to shoot down the enemy raiders at a rate of 3 to 1, if Britain was to avoid succumbing to the might of the all-conquering Luftwaffe.

‘Operation Banquet’ and ‘Banquet Light’

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Operation Banquet could have seen student pilots flying bomb laden de Havilland Tiger Moth trainers straight at the German landing sites, as Britain did everything possible to repel the invasion force

Facing such a perilous situation as they did during the summer of 1940, British military planners obviously had to have contingency plans in place in the event that things did not go well and the Luftwaffe managed to deplete Fighter Command’s fighting capabilities sufficiently to secure air superiority. Should this prove to be the inconceivable outcome of the battle, the country would be bracing itself for the imminent arrival of German ground troops on British beaches, however, they would be facing an extremely hostile reception. If the Royal Navy had not already taken a heavy toll of invasion craft, the landing troops would have to run the gauntlet of strong coastal defences, the regular army (which was still significant in number and re-equipping after Dunkirk) and the Local Defence Volunteers, who may have been less professional than their military counterparts, but were steadfast in their resolve.

In the air, what remained of Fighter Command would attempt to cover the aircraft of Bomber Command, as they mounted numerous determined strike attacks against the landing zones, attempting to prevent the invaders from establishing beachheads and moving inland. In addition to this and waiting in reserve poised to strike, Operation Banquet called for Army Cooperation and Training Commands to deploy their aircraft in an offensive role, attacking the beaches in groups of five or six, but from multiple directions. The aircraft had been specially modified to carry bombs and machine guns and whilst their offensive capabilities were clearly limited, it is thought that their sheer number and frequency of attack would have had a demoralising effect on the invading forces.

Operation Banquet Light was an even more radical plan to equip some of the lightest aircraft in Britain with the ability to carry a bomb load, no matter how small. Aircraft such as the Tiger Moth training biplane would have been used for such missions and had it come to this, many of the missions would have been flown by military student pilots or members of the public who held a flying licence. Thankfully for the nation, not to mention the pilots involved, Operation Banquet was never put into action, however, you can’t help but imagine what it might have looked like to see large numbers of De Havilland Tiger Moth biplanes attempting to drive the invaders back into the English Channel. It would have certainly shown the German’s that they would have to fight for every inch of British soil, or swim back to France.

One hero to represent many - Fighter Command’s VC winner

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

With the fate of the nation in the balance, it is no wonder that so few actual images of the aerial combat which took place during the Battle of Britain are in existence. Thankfully, we do have artist representations to try and convey the drama which was taking place amongst the clouds, which they manage to do extremely well. This image does not show the Nicolson VC action, but does show combat between RAF Hurricanes and Bf 110 Destroyers of the Luftwaffe

With the fate of Britain in their hands and the opportunity to play a significant role in world history, the young men of Fighter Command would not only have to call upon all their flying experiences, but also display exceptional levels of courage and mental fortitude, if they were to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining the air superiority they had promised the Fuhrer. Facing overwhelming odds and often flying several sorties each day, men who would probably have described themselves as being quite ordinary were performing extraordinary feats on a daily basis, fighting to defend their nation and selflessly putting themselves in harm’s way in the process. Many of the ‘Few’ would remain relatively anonymous, fighting and in some cases, giving their lives in the service of their country, however, one young airman came to represent the astonishing achievements of Fighter Command’s brave aircrews during the Battle of Britain, becoming a figurehead for the gratitude of an entire nation.

On Friday 16th August 1940, the savage aerial combat which was taking place in the skies above southern England would witness just one of these many acts of selfless bravery, as the RAF and Luftwaffe once again duelled for supremacy of the air. The only difference this time was that this act would attract official recognition and the nation’s highest honour for valour in the presence of the enemy.

As 23 year old Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson clambered into the cockpit of his Hawker Hurricane Mk.I fighter at RAF Boscombe Down on 16th August 1940, he knew he would be facing another frenetic day of aerial combat. He and the rest of No.249 Squadron were being sent to intercept the latest Luftwaffe raid heading towards Britain, this time a force Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin engined Destroyers approaching the Southampton area, acting as fighter cover for a large formation of bombers. Approaching the enemy at a height of at 17,000 feet (Angels one-seven in RAF speak), Nicolson noticed a Messerschmitt passing below him and immediately prepared to attack.

As he expertly manoeuvred his fighter to place the enemy aircraft squarely in his gunsight, the Hurricane started to violently shudder, with bullets ripping into the cockpit – the hunter was now the hunted. Banking the aircraft in an attempt to see what was behind him and to get out of the line of fire, over his shoulder, he managed to catch a glimpse of his attackers. A gaggle of Messerschmitt Bf 109s had been holding station above the unfolding dogfight below, their presence unnoticed by the British pilots – as the Hurricanes pressed home their attacks, the Messerschmitts pounced.

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

A Corgi 1/72nd scale diecast representation of the Hawker Hurricane Mk.I James Nicolson was flying on 16th August 1940, when he engaged Luftwaffe Bf 110 fighters over Southampton. Although he would end the day in hospital, his actions would earn him Fighter Command’s only Victoria Cross of the Second World War

Inside the cockpit of Nicolson’s Hurricane, the situation was now serious - four cannon shells from the attacking Messerschmitt had ripped into the British fighter, which was now badly damaged. One shell had shattered the Perspex canopy and a shard of the material was sticking in the pilot’s left eyelid, with seeping blood resulting in temporary loss of vision. A second shell grazed his left leg and hit him in the foot, with a third hitting vital instruments in the cockpit. The fourth shell caused the most significant damage to Nicolson’s aircraft as it struck the gravity fuel tank of the Hurricane, which was positioned in front of the pilot, just behind the instrument panel. Every pilot’s nightmare now began to unfold, as Nicolson’s Hurricane started to burn.

With flames now licking all around him, there was no time to waste and Nicolson needed to get out of his aircraft immediately. Pulling the pin on the Sutton harness to release the straps which were holding him in the seat, he managed to wriggled upwards, towards the slipstream and potential safety. Just as he was about to throw himself out of his burning Hurricane, he looked back into the cockpit and noticed a Messerschmitt Bf 110 full in the windscreen of his fighter and rather than make good his escape, a sense of anger and defiance came over him. The injured pilot climbed back into his burning fighter and with flames now licking around his hands and face, regained control of his Hurricane and fired his guns, raking the enemy fighter. He continued firing until the cockpit inferno became too intense to carry on.

With flames now engulfing the cockpit, Flight Lieutenant Nicolson finally jumped free of his fighter and tumbled earthwards, with the sudden rush of air helping to extinguish the flames. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done, but despite the intense pain in his fused hands, he would have try and pull the parachute ripcord or face certain death. After several failed attempts, he finally managed it and the harnesses under his arms pulled tight as the parachute inflated above him. Still in agony from his wounds, Nicolson floated serenely towards the ground, while the battle raged above him and only seconds after he had been involved in the fighting himself.

As if Nicolson had not endured enough already, he was still in mortal danger. It was reported that a German fighter was circling the stricken pilot as he parachuted to earth, possibly considering firing on him to prevent him returning to the battle at a later date. Fearing such an attack, Nicolson feigned death, hanging motionless in his harness until the enemy fighter had flown away. Unexpectedly, observers on the ground assumed the circling Messerschmitt had been checking the condition of a comrade pilot and convinced one trigger happy member of the local Home Guard to fire a shotgun in the direction of the stricken pilot. As if he had not suffered enough already, he now had shotgun pellets in his buttocks to add to his significant list of wounds.

Thankfully, once on the ground, he was able to confirm his identity to the home guard, who on seeing his badly burned hands, released him from his parachute and rushed him to the Royal Southampton Hospital, where he received immediate treatment for his terrible wounds.

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Man of the hour, Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson would come to represent the valour of almost 3000 Fighter Command pilots who fought to repel the mighty Luftwaffe during the summer of 1940

The fact that the actions in which Flight Lieutenant Nicolson had been involved were witnessed by many people on the ground, in addition to his own squadron mates in the air, would prove to be significant. In so many cases throughout the melee of combat during the Battle of Britain, both victors and the vanquished were engaged in a rather remote, personal form of warfare, high above towns and cities with few to bear witness to their successes, or indeed fate. Although there would have undoubtedly been many acts of selfless bravery taking place amongst the clouds, most would have gone completely unnoticed, with many young men taking details of these valiant deeds to their graves.

In the case of Flight Lieutenant Nicolson, other members of No.249 Squadron, as well as many witnesses on the ground actually saw the brave pilot pressing home his attack, despite seeing flames engulfing his Hurricane fighter. They also reported seeing the Messerschmitt Bf 110 crashing into the sea near Southampton docks, in the immediate aftermath of the incident, confirming Nicolson’s victory. Whilst he was receiving treatment for his wounds in hospital, discussions were already taking place at the highest level, regarding suitable recognition for such a display of selfless valour.

On 16th August 1940, Nicolson was informed that he had been awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for gallantry. On 25th November, he was received at Buckingham Palace, where he was presented with the Victoria Cross by King George VI. Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson was the only Fighter Command recipient of the Victoria Cross during the Second World War.

The ‘Few’ - they were not alone

Although Winston Churchill’s famous speech of the 20th August 1940 made direct reference to the relatively small number of fighter pilots who were battling to defend an entire nation and how their superhuman efforts were deserving of the eternal gratitude of the British people, this did not entirely reflect the situation as faced by the attacking Luftwaffe. Of the almost 3000 pilots and air gunners who represented RAF, Fleet Air Arm and Army Cooperation Squadrons during the Battle of Britain, the celebrated ‘Few’ were made up of pilots from many nations, each one determined to play their part in halting Germany’s growing list of victories.

Clearly, pilots born and trained in Britain made up the vast majority of the fighting aircrews during the battle, however, airmen from Poland, New Zealand, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Australia, Belgium, South Africa, France, Ireland, USA, Southern Rhodesia, Jamaica and Barbados would join their British comrades in climbing into the cockpits of Spitfires, Hurricanes and Defiants in facing the overwhelming onslaught of Luftwaffe aerial might during the summer of 1940, joining the fight for the very survival of the free world.

The support network behind these pilots was enormous, with every individual playing a crucial role in helping to work towards an extremely hard fought victory. It would be difficult to assess the impact of individual groups of people on the overall outcome of the battle, however, it is clear that the vast network of airfield support personnel made a huge contribution in ensuring the pilots had everything they needed to continue repelling the Luftwaffe formations, from maintaining their aircraft to keeping them fed and watered. Riggers, fitters, armourers, engineers and other technicians worked long hours to keep their aircraft serviceable, often having to prepare fighters to undertake several sorties in the same day. Whenever pilots had time to grab a few minutes respite from the fighting, the simple yet essential ability to have a cup of tea and something to eat was always available and should medical attention be required, this was again on hand.

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Aviation brothers in arms – the three main RAF single engined fighters which fought the Battle of Britain were the Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane and Boulton Paul Defiant. The Spitfire would become symbolic as the British aircraft which stood defiant against the might of the Luftwaffe, shepherding the British people to an unlikely victory

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Though often in the shadow of the more famous Spitfire, the Hurricane was to prove decisive during the battle, with more Luftwaffe aircraft falling to the guns of Hurricanes than the rest of Britain’s defences combined – this astonishing statistic also includes victories scored by Spitfires

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Although entering service after both the Spitfire and Hurricane, the Defiant was totally outclassed as an autonomous day fighter and was quickly withdrawn to night fighting duties. It is, however, undoubtedly one of the most interesting aircraft of the Second World War

Providing the reassurance operational fighter pilots needed, parachute packers were meticulous in their duties, so if their skills were required, everything worked as it should and their pilot would be able to re-join the fight as quickly as possible. In a similar vein, the station firefighters were always ready to put their own lives at risk to help airmen who were returning to the airfield with damaged aircraft.

Away from their home airfield, the pilots of Bomber Command were engaged in attacking enemy airfields in France and the Low Countries, desperately trying to reduce Luftwaffe aircraft availability and thus reduce the pressure on the few. In addition to this, their night attacks on Berlin would be crucial in provoking a change in tactics from the Germans, one which would prove to be a huge strategic blunder and one which may well have unwittingly dictated the outcome of the battle in Britain’s favour.

The list of people who were behind the famous few goes on and includes the magnificent and often unheralded Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, the British Army, RAF Training Command, Britain’s anti-aircraft, barrage balloon and searchlight crews, and of course the Local Defence Volunteer Force, although VC winning pilot James Nicolson might have had something to say about that!

On the ‘Home Front’, as the Luftwaffe’s unrelenting onslaught moved from Fighter Command’s airfields to the streets of London and surrounding areas, a great many more people were forced to take part in the Battle of Britain. With the general public now very much in the line of fire, it could be argued that they too were involved in fighting the Battle of Britain, facing the onslaught with no little bravery of their own, displaying incredible resolve and an absolute disdain for the Luftwaffe and their leaders. On a wider level still, the entire country was now focused on repelling the Luftwaffe and preventing an invasion which seemed more likely with each new air raid. Civil defence forces, fire fighters, air raid wardens, medical and rescue services, aircraft and munitions workers, naval and merchant navy personnel all played their part in carrying on as normal, with everyone determined to do their bit and ensure Britain could continue fighting.

With the brave pilots of Fighter Command as their talismen, this might have been a nation with their backs against the wall, but they were coming out fighting.

Turning the tide

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

At the start of the Battle of Britain, the pilots of Fighter Command were facing overwhelming odds and would need to shoot down the enemy at a rate of around three to one, if Britain was to have a chance of withstanding this onslaught

As the Battle of Britain moved from August into September, it was clear that the next few weeks would play a significant role in determining the outcome not only of this battle but perhaps the entire war and with it, the history of Europe. With RAF pilots now understandably showing high levels of combat fatigue and Fighter Command airfields withering under the incessant attacks of recent weeks, the Luftwaffe appeared unrelenting in their resolve and the raids just kept on coming. The RAF were always there to face them, however, replacement pilots were now taking the place of seasoned veterans and the strain was just beginning to show.

All the time the savage air battles had been raging in the skies above Britain, the experienced pilots of the Polish Air Force who had fled to the country at the start of the war had been undergoing an intense period of training. Using unfamiliar aircraft in a foreign land and operating under a completely different command structure, these were fighting men and just wanted a chance to get at the enemy. One Polish Squadron had been made operational in the middle of August, but there was more to come from these brave airmen.

On 30th August 1940, the pilots of No.303 (Polish) Squadron were conducting a training flight with their commander over Hertfordshire, when they sighted a large formation of enemy aircraft. Two of the Polish pilots reported the sighting to their Flight Leader and immediately peeled away to attack the German aircraft, managing to shoot down a Messerschmitt Bf 110 during the ensuing combat. On landing back at RAF Northolt, the pilots were severely reprimanded by their Commanding Officer, before he went on to congratulate them on their victory. The next day, the Polish pilots of No.303 Squadron were granted operational status and on that first day of combat operations, managed to shoot down six Luftwaffe fighters in a frenetic 15 minutes of fighting, without suffering loss to their own numbers.

That first day of operations for No.303 Squadron proved to be Fighter Command’s most costly day during the Battle of Britain and arguably the closest the nation came to defeat. Similarly, it could also be argued that this day marked a turning point in the battle and the start of a chain of events which would result in the RAF emerging victorious. Despite their relatively late entry into the fighting, the determined Polish airmen of No.303 Squadron would go on to become the most successful Fighter Command unit of the entire Battle of Britain, scoring nearly three times the number of victories posted by other RAF squadrons. In just 42 days of fighting, No.303 (Polish) Squadron accounted for at least 126 Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed, with nine of the unit’s pilots earning the coveted status of air ‘Ace’.

Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary special edition of the Airfix and Corgi Aerodrome blog

Despite their relatively late introduction to the fighting, No.303 (Polish) Squadron would make a significant contribution towards victory, with their aggressive combat tactics earning them the distinction of becoming the most successful Fighter Command unit of the entire Battle of Britain

Adopting an extremely aggressive flying style in combat, the Polish pilots of Fighter Command made a telling contribution in finally defeating the Luftwaffe threat, at a time when the outcome of the conflict was very much in the balance.

The rest of September would witness some of the largest Luftwaffe raids of the battle, forcing the RAF to sustain their heaviest losses in the process. The month would also see Goering’s bombers turn their attention to London, leaving Fighter Command’s airfields free to regroup and redouble their efforts. Although Londoners were now in harms way, each Luftwaffe raid would be met by ever increasing numbers of British Fighters, which inflicted losses on the attackers which were becoming unsustainable.

The last massed Luftwaffe daylight attack against London took place on 15th September and from that date, the conflict would decent into a nocturnal bombing offensive against Britain’s cities, the manifest acceptance that Germany had lost control of the skies. By the 31st October, the Battle of Britain was officially over and the immediate threat of invasion had been averted. Germany’s offensive aspirations now moved in an easterly direction, with the Russian becoming the next to endure a relentless German onslaught.

With his absolute mastery of the spoken word, there can be no more fitting way to bring this Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary tribute edition of Aerodrome to a close than by revisiting Winston Churchill’s famous speech made to the House of Commons on 20th August 1940.

‘The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’.

How right he was.

I am afraid that is all we have for you in this latest edition of Aerodrome, but we will be back as usual in two weeks’ time with more aviation related content for your enjoyment. If you would like to send us a selection of your own pictures, or suggest an aviation related subject you would like to see covered in a future edition, please use our aerodrome@airfix.com address, where we will be delighted to hear from you.

In between new editions of our blog, the aviation related conversation continues over on the Airfix Aerodrome Forum and we can also be contacted on either the Airfix or Corgi Facebook pages, in addition to Twitter for both Airfix and Corgi - please do get involved in the discussions and let us know what you think about Aerodrome.

We will now be making a little change to our blog scheduling and the next edition of Aerodrome will be published on Friday 25th September, where we look forward to bringing you even more interesting aviation related features.

Thank you so much for continuing to support our Aerodrome blog.


Return to the Aerodrome Home Page

© Hornby Hobbies Ltd. All rights reserved.

Share this post

Membership Restricted Product