Battle of Britain Day

IMG_8036Today – 15 September is Battle of Britain day. The day we remember with immense gratitude the young men of the RAF who waged an aerial war over London, other UK cities, and the counties of SE England against the Bombers of the German Luftwaffe in 1940, seventy-five years ago. 15 September is commemorated as the day the tide was turned and Hitler’s determination to defeat the RAF as a prelude to an invasion of the UK was finally and decisively thwarted. 1,500 Aircraft were in the sky that day, engaged in aerial battle.

Today there was a service of remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral and this afternoon the largest flight of Spitfires and Hurricanes ever seen since WW2 took to the air for a fly-past. As I write I am watching a TV programme documenting today’s events.

There is however something missing from what I have written so far. The daring, brave young men to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude were not just English. Men from many Commonwealth countries also flew, but the greatest non-UK contribution came from Poland. There were fifteen Polish Fighter squadrons of which Squadron No. 303 is the most famous being the highest scoring RAF squadron with 126 ‘kills’ to its credit. On 15 September 303 Squadron claimed 15 ‘victories’.

Winston Churchill said, referring to the Battle of Britain: ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’. We must never forget.

Purely by chance I walked back into London ten days ago after visiting my son in SE London and spotted this superb artwork on Southbank commemorating 303 Squadron. I couldn’t have found a better image to post to commemorate today.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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4 Responses to Battle of Britain Day

  1. shoreacres says:

    This is just wonderful. I know you’re probably overwhelmed with activity at this point, but I’ll still recommend this to you. I read Schindler regularly, primarily because I know so little of the things he’s expert in: war, intelligence, spys and counter-spies, and so on. He writes well, and this piece is especially touching.

    And your photo shows a wonderful tribute. It’s amazing, really, that you came across it.

    • LensScaper says:

      I was always look forward to hearing from you because you always have something fascinating to say and your links are so very apposite. I have read that article – well worth a read and I’ve printed it out for safe keeping. Thank you Linda. I’m sure this mural must have been painted specifically for this commemoration. I really didn’t plan to walk that far on that day – but once I started I just wandered along visiting a few of my photogenic haunts and finding new images.

  2. Chillbrook says:

    Just gives me chills to think about what those young men did Andy. Incredible. The 7/7 tube bombings, whilst being a dreadful tragedy for those involved, just bought it home to me what the people of this country were putting up with, night after night during the darkest days of World War Two, not just a couple of bombs, thousands. It needs remembering, throughout the world. As a nation we spend far too much time apologising for our history rather than celebrating a quite remarkable one!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you for that contribution Adrian. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have lived through the blitz. My parents lived through it – my father was an ARP warden in the city. My parents didn’t talk much about the war and sadly my father died in his early sixties and one of my biggest regrets is that I never got the chance to sit down and talk to him in depth about his early life.

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