Battle of Britain

  peter99co 12:55 20 Aug 10
Locked

click here

An excellent presentation by the BBC to show how the battle went on a daya by day basis.

Brings it all into focus I think.

  Pineman100 16:39 20 Aug 10

I'm too young (it's not often I get to say that!) to remember the Battle of Britain. But I'm certainly not too young to appreciate and acknowledge that we owe our freedom, our national independence and our very way of life to the people who defended us in "our darkest hour". Our debt to them can never be overstated.

The BBC's graphic presentation shows the astonishing skill of our pilots and the quality of our aircraft, highlighted by the fact that - in a quick scan down the list - I can't find more than two or three days in which we lost more aircraft than the Luftwaffe. Even more importantly, five times more Luftwaffe airmen were lost than RAF.

The Spitfire has always been regarded as the "star" of the BoB. But there were actually far more Hurricanes in service than Spitfires. The Hurricanes were mainly used to attack German bombers, while the more manoeuvrable Spitfires took on the German fighters.

Churchill's famous words were no exaggeration.

  peter99co 16:43 20 Aug 10

This will give you a good History Lesson

click here

  anchor 17:04 20 Aug 10

On the BBC site I read this disgraceful account of a woman who urinated on a war memorial in Blackpool. On arrival at court she swore at war veterans.

click here

To think so many men died for the likes of her.

  Diemmess 18:12 20 Aug 10

An newish book "Fighter Boys" (Patrick Bishop,
Harper Perennial,) is worth a good read if the subject interests you.

The book centres on the men rather than the machines or strategy.
It also deals with German pilots as well as those of the Commonwealth
It collects stories opinions attitudes and reminiscences across the years from earlist air fighting to the end of WW2.

Aircrew selection in the early days often depended on a good school and fox hunting but when my father joined in May 1918 his paybook was stamped Observer. He said "I thought I was going to be trained as a pilot?"
The sergeant replied "I say Observer!"
End of recruitment interview.
Fortunately by the time he was trained the war was nearly over and he never went to France. His elder brother died there a year earlier

  Pineman100 18:56 20 Aug 10

Memorable sayings by sergeants (this one about 75 years later than yours!):

My son was in officer training, which is carried out by sergeants. Technically, therefore, the trainees outrank the trainers. In order to clarify how they should address each other, a CSM once said to my son:

"I call you 'sir', sir. And you call me 'sir', sir. The only difference between us, sir, is that you mean it!"

  ams4127 20:24 20 Aug 10

To my mind, there is nothing in the whole wide world that comes anywhere near the crackling, growling roar of a good old Merlin engine.

  Forum Editor 23:23 20 Aug 10

"nothing in the whole wide world that comes anywhere near the crackling, growling roar of a good old Merlin engine."

Unless it's four of them.

When I was just a teeney weeney FE in the bud I lived on a Yorkshire RAF station that still had operational Lancasters, and I often used to lie in bed late at night and hear the roar of the Merlins as one after another the aircraft lifted off on a night flight. It's an unmistakable and unforgettable sound, and if I hear it on a film or an old newsreel clip I'm a small child again.

  wee eddie 04:14 21 Aug 10

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"

This was the response of an elderly Pilot

"and I thought he was referring to our Mess Bills"

  961 14:28 21 Aug 10

When I was a sprog I used to lie in bed with my mother with the curtains open (no lights) watching the searchlights playing across the sky, waiting for the German bombers.

She could tell the difference between the sound of Merlin engines and German bombers and decide just when the time was right to leg it down to the Anderson air-raid shelter and meet the neighbours to shiver together for two or three hours

One night I lost a slipper in the dash across the garden, spending the night with one naked foot in the mud that was the shelter's floor

And this in a winter when the ice accumulated on the inside of the windows and there was often no coal for a fire to provide the hot water to fill the hot water bottle. Electric balankets and kettles were in the future

The nation would gather round the "wireless" (and often when there was no power that would be a crystal set

click here )

to listen to the news at 9pm each night, and then Vera Lynn, Gracie Fields and Glen Miller's band

  Diemmess 18:05 21 Aug 10

I was a 10yr old living in Shropshire at the time.
Our area was spared any bombing but night after night could hear the zoom zoom of German twin motor bombers.
This was presumably the near synchronization of the RPM between engines.
The big bend in the Severn at Ironbridge was a marker point for raiders heading for Birmingham and Coventry or for Liverpool.
Fascinated as I was by flying, I had plenty to see during the days centred as we were in a rash of training airfields for RAF FAA and US Army AF.
Even my mother could recognise a Spitfire when she saw one, though to me the American P47 (Thunderbolt) was the one to watch in practice dogfights

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