As I was in London again this week I thought I would visit the Battle of Britain Memorial designed by Paul Day. My visit there was prompted by the research I did on my post about the sculpture at St Pancras station, also created by Paul Day.
As you would expect the detail in the memorial is outstanding. The two friezes pay tribute to everyone that had a role to play during that crucial period of the war.
The Battle of Britain lasted for three months, from July to September 1940. Following the fall of France in June 1940, Germany began preparing to invade Britain. A crucial factor in the invasion plan was dominance of the English Channel. To secure the channel Germany had to defeat the Royal Air Force. They attempted to do so by attacking RAF bases and runways.
Whilst the numbers of planes at Germany’s disposal exceeded Britain’s, German fighter cover for their bombers was restricted by fuel and ammunition limitations. The RAF, able to resupply, were able to disrupt the bomber raids significantly. This ensured that enough planes and pilots survived to frustrate the German plans. None the less, as time passed the repeated attacks began to take their toll. Had the Luftwaffe continued their attacks on the RAF and infrastructure it’s quite likely the RAF would have been defeated.
Fortunately for the RAF and Britain as a whole, German strategy changed to bombing cities. The respite gave the RAF time to replenish aircraft and personnel and continue the fight. The sustained and effective resistance the RAF put up over those three months ensured that an invasion could not happen. Hitler’s focus turned on Russia. Britain survived.
The detail and work put into the Battle of Britain Memorial deserves close attention. Both of the pictures can be viewed full size by clicking on them. A new window will open, and you’ll be able to zoom and pan around the image.