Honoured at last: The Many of the Battle of Britain


Seventy Battle of Britain pilots looked on proudly yesterday as the Prince of Wales unveiled a memorial to the bravery of the wartime RAF in overcoming almost insurmountable odds to defeat the Luftwaffe in 1940.

But it was not just "the few" who were honoured, tribute was also paid to those on the ground whose contribution has often been overlooked for the past 65 years.

The heroism of 2,936 air crew, drawn from 15 countries, is depicted on one side of the granite memorial by Paul Day.

The other side of the monument, on the Victoria Embankment in the heart of London, pays homage to the men and women who performed an array of vital tasks from the "ack ack" gunners to observers and the mechanics responsible for keeping the Hurricanes and Spitfires airworthy.

The contribution of "the many" was recognised earlier by Ron Hesketh, the RAF's Chaplain in Chief, during a special service at Westminster Abbey as he urged the congregation to recall "those whose sacrifices were just as great".

Unveiling the memorial as his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, looked on, the prince recalled how his parents and grandmother told him of life during the Battle of Britain when there were dogfights in the skies, enemy aircraft flew up the Mall and German bombers crashed in Windsor Great Park.

"For today's generation it is difficult to imagine how dangerous and bleak the situation was in the summer of 1940," the prince said. "It seemed almost inevitable that this country would succumb to Nazi aggression."

Almost 550 pilots died in the battle, which was fought during the summer of 1940. The pilots' names are engraved on one side of the monument and yesterday the survivors were swift to see where they had been recorded for posterity on the £1.65 million work paid for by public subscription.

In my life, I am honoured to have been piloted by one of them as a young space cadet. We owe them a debt of gratitude , this monument goes some way to addressing that. I am only sorry that some personalities weren't there to see their efforts recognised.
Quote"paid for by public subscription" says it all. Had England been defended by disabled lesbian single mothers the govt would have chipped in. Full marks to the ordinary Brits who have not forgotten.


Fantastic, I agree - these brave people need to be saluted and remembered. But just can't fathom out why a monument actually cost £1.65 million??? Or am I having a blonde moment and mis-reading??!!
Many thanks to all the 'Foreign' Govt's who added to the fund also.
At least they don't want to forget the debt , unlike BLIAR and his cronies
that thing who's got her statue on the plinth a trafalgar square had the bare faced cheek to say "at least i haven't got my statue put up for slaying people" :evil:

well love , if these men hadn't been in the air "slaying" and being slayed in their hundreds then you wouldn't have got your statue up at all... as Adolf had a nasty habit of topping all his spackers.


Book Reviewer
We were of course defended by disabled men - Nelson, Bader, Capt Sam Browne, etc. They seemed to do OK :)


Thought there was a monument to the Battle of Britain veterans opened by the Queen Mother in 1993 largely funded through their own efforts I believe...see pic


War Hero
Sad that Aircrew got the glory, there were some very brave crabs on the ground.

My uncle Charlie, long deceased, was a RAF Firefighter at the time. He went into burning aircraft to get trapped crews out, managed to get himself toasted a couple of times in the process. All long before anyone gave much thought to PTSD, when he came out he had awful nightmares/flashbacks about people screaming as they were burnt to death. He saw this pretty well daily. Took to the drink eventually and drank himself into an early grave. Sad.


GwaiLo, half the point of this new statue was to honour the wingless Crabs. Go read up on the unveiling ceremony. Lots of praise to the folk who got no glory.

Quote BBC:

Group Captain Len Bartlett looked on with a mixture of pride, joy and sadness as he recalled the historic defeat of the German Luftwaffe more than half a century ago.

"I live in Australia now and I came over especially to see this memorial and attend a few dinners and it has been well worth it. This monument is sensational," said the 89-year-old former group captain, who flew Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain and served in the RAF for 28 years.

The £1.65m London monument, which is located on the Victoria Embankment, was commissioned by the Battle of Britain Historical Society and funded by public subscription.

One frieze depicts all the achievements of Fighter Command, while the other focuses on the people of London, featuring St Paul's Cathedral and an Anderson air-raid shelter.

The former pilot praised the work's "inclusiveness" for commemorating the work of the ground staff, as well as pilots, during the battle.
URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4258130.stm
I walked past it today and it really is a superb memorial, and about time!!

In regards to it coming in at a nice £1.65 million, well the contractors seemed to be fcuking about for what seemed like almost a year completing it, so maybe it wasn't price work so to speak!

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