The Battle of Britain was the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe in combat for control of air space over the English Channel and Britain in preparation for Hitler’s plan to invade the United Kingdom. This heroic struggle was probably the most significant turning point in Britain’s 20th century history. Germany knew they had to have control over the seas by destroying the Royal Navy; and to do this, Hitler knew that the Luftwaffe must destroy the Royal Air Force which protected the Royal Fleet. Germany failed. This was the turning point of the war for Britain.
2010 is the 70th anniversary of this great battle. Last week, I was walking down the Embankment to film THE LONDON MAYOR’S SKYE RIDE. As I was leaning against the Embankment, I looked where I was standing. There was the Thames in all its beauty–a magnificent backdrop for the MONUMENT OF THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN. I stood there taking pictures trying to pull from my memory the history of this great air battle between the British and German air forces. I remembered images of FAT Goering and the famous words of Churchill: THE BATTLE OF FRANCE IS OVER AND THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN HAS BEGUN. There were powers in the government that wished to negotiate a peace with Hitler; Churchill in his immensely powerful Churchillian language rallied the nation and made it very clear that Britain would never surrender. As I stood enjoying THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN MONUMENT, I recalled the poll taken at the turn of the century 2000 when the world decided that Winston Churchill was probably the most significant personality of the 20th century. I remember thinking to myself: HE CERTAINLY HAS MY VOTE.
The Royal Air Force prepared to meet the Luftwaffe with all its force; Churchill took to the airwaves to steady the nerves of the British people, and the Royal Family learned to shoot a gun. The Queen was taught to shoot a pistol in the basement of Buckingham Palace saying that if the Germans come, they will find her shooting. Hitler did not count on two things: the British ability to endure hardship and its overwhelming determination to be a free nation.
I was born after this period, but my parents often spoke of the Royal Air Force’s ability to outwit the Germans. I remember my father saying that Goering’s jumping up and down in anger after one defeat after another was the only exercise the fat German got. My father’s deeply devoted English heart followed the war day by day. As children, we heard the stories, and we knew all about British bravery and resolve. There is no question that Hitler knew only too well that he had a formidable foe. AND MY FATHER WOULD HAVE ALSO CONFIRMED BRITAIN’S DETERMINATION AND RESOLVE.
I am posting some of the most amazing images from the BATTLE OF BRITAIN. I hope you enjoy them. September each year is the month to commemorate this great struggle and victory. We must not forget the lessons learned here. When you are taking a walk along the Embankment, start at Westminster Bridge, on the north side of the river, and walk along the river about one hundred yards. You will run right into this splendid memorial. Tip you hat to these brave pilots, fine chaps, who defended their homeland with splendid Anglo-Saxon determination and resolve.
I love these stories. I love the images of the Royal Family standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace waving victoriously to the crowds who are overjoyed with victory after years of struggle and near starvation.
I am certain there were many in the cheering crowds with hand over their hearts saying to themselves: THANK GOD and GOD SAVE THE KING.
Beautiful, isn’t it. TEAR
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918