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Battle of Britain Day - 80th Anniversary

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Battle of Britain Day - 80th Anniversary

Old 15th Sep 2020, 10:05
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Battle of Britain Day - 80th Anniversary

There are quite a few events to commemorate the 80th anniversary.

Battle of Britain: 80th anniversary to be marked with events across UK

Battle of Britain: 'The few' remembered on 80th anniversary

In London, alternating union and RAF Ensign flags will fly on The Mall, according to the Ministry of Defence.
At the risk of sounding churlish, am I the only one who feels there should a few Canadian, Polish, and Czech Flags and White Ensigns scattered among them? In no way wishing to diminish the dominant role played by the Hurricane and Spitfire pilots I also hope the participation of the Blenheim, Beafighter, Gladiatior, Defiant and Whirlwind crews as well as 804 and 808 RNASs will not be overlooked. I was pleased to see the BBC (Wales) article, linked above, mentions a Canadian Sub Lt, Jack Conway Carpenter, who served with 229 and 46 Squadrons sadly being fatally shot down on 5 September 1940. The ability to feed in resources, both machinery and human, from many sources was IMHO one of Dowding and his subordinates great achievements.

Nice to see the essential contributions of the backroom girls (and boys) remembered. Battle of Britain's 'radar women' remembered
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 11:32
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Glad that somebody remembered, thank you SLXOwft! Yes and no about the "radar women". It's a typical woke Beeb piece. Never mind about the courage and sacrifice of the pilots and other males, let's celebrate the women involved in the battle. Everybody who served in the Military and Civilian organisations at the time deserve recognition, not for their sex, not for their particular organisations, but simply because they served and contributed to victory, often making the final sacrifice.

I don't know who the "we" are who "don't reflect enough" as instanced by the AVM. There has been plenty of emphasis in the media on the Fighter Command system that meant we could prevail over a much stronger enemy and which depended on GPO engineers, WAAF's, ATA pilots, RAF ground and aircrew, the ROC, and many many others, no matter what their sex was. Of course, there may be those who know nothing of the BoB whatsoever. A minor piece about women radar plotters won't do much to rectify that.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 15th Sep 2020 at 14:32. Reason: Words, dear boy, words!
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 11:50
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Oh how very BBC to put in a photo of a Hurricane chasing an ME-108. There must be thousands of photos with the ME-109, but there you go .'close enough' journalism again.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 12:12
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The RAF Ensign is flying proudly outside my house, and another one outside my brother's house near Perth, WA.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 12:33
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10% of pilots in the BoB were Polish or Czech.

They absolutely should be represented by their national flags.

Without them, would the BoB result have been the same?
It was, after all, a "narrow margin".


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Old 15th Sep 2020, 13:35
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Particularly, the women who were behind the scenes, as radar operatives, filter room attendants
Our changing vocabulary, I assume?
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 13:57
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ATA Pilots Chug...................

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Old 15th Sep 2020, 14:02
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Chugalug2, I have long given up expecting anything other than PC and woke articles from the BBC. To be honest I only skimmed the 'radar women' article - I was trying to reflect my agreement with Group Captain John Hemingway that "all those who fought during those difficult months, not just the pilots" should be remembered".

I think, like many of my generation, I grew up knowing only about the pilots who had fought and died a couple of decades before we were born, being air miinded as a teenager I read books on the subject and Dowding became a hero to me. I remember seeing "Auntie Joan" explaining the development and importance of the RDF and Command system system to viewers in a programme that was IMO much more thoughtful than current ones. (General Johannes Steinhoff was also a contributor). I think all of us here are well aware air fighting is a team enterprise, the majority of the team members not being in the air. I suppose even the Battle of Britain film increased my awareness of the others involved including the ROC and AA & Searchlight units.

On a side note, my wife is a Canadian citizen so I have developed an interest in the contribution her fellow citizens made on land, sea and in the air in WW2.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 14:32
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Originally Posted by Arclite01 View Post
ATA Pilots Chug...................

Oops, thanks Arclite, I'll correct. Currently searching for a car battery, hence ATS? No, doesn't even convince me!
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 14:48
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What the books, films etc. don't tend to tell you is the appalling conditions that the groundcrews and support staff had to put up with on the front line airfields - Biggin, Kenley, Tangmere, Croydon, etc. I remember attending an 85 squadron reunion and meeting some of the engine fitters, armourers and riggers, etc. that had been at Croydon during the height of the battle. They to a man pointed out how rare it was to get a cooked meal and how their salvation was the Sally Anne van that came round twice a day. They also pointed out that whilst they had spent a lot of time living in tents, most were living in hedges a good distance from their aircraft during the height of the battle. Few had any memory of getting a bath or shower during that period. Several pointed out how lucky they were compared with their comrades at Biggin or Kenley and at least it was summer.

It is believed that over 300 groundcrew were killed during the battle but this is vary rarely mentioned - how sad?
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 14:58
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Slight Thread Drift

This is probably available on yooftoob, however I came across it in a much more appropriate place:

East Anglian Film Archive: About Anglia: Battle of Britain Anniversary Preparations at RAF Coltishall, 1961

= how things used to be done

Last edited by bridgets boy; 15th Sep 2020 at 14:59. Reason: title change
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 17:02
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Excellent stuff, thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 17:27
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Once again ATA pilot = woman pilot, in spite of the fact that they only accounted for around 19% of the strength of the organisation.

I also hope the participation of the Blenheim, Beafighter, Gladiatior, Defiant and Whirlwind crews as well as 804 and 808 RNASs will not be overlooked.
A vain hope I fear. Everyone knows that the Battle of Britain was won by young RAF officers flying Spitires - except that it wasn't.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 18:27
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Actually, I've felt a bit jaded by the coverage I've seen. I've certainly lost count of the number of TV presenters being flown in the back seat of a Tr.9, while if it's not a fighter pilot, plotter or radar operator it's very difficult to get a mention.

It's a shame as there is so much to tell about the Battle of Britain that rarely gets mentioned; the Observer Corps, Anti-Aircraft Command, the big wing controversy and the way Dowding and Park were shafted, even the story from the Luftwaffe's side.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 19:31
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A glass or two will be raised in tribute tonight.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 19:33
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Kenley ops room

When i went to join 450 ATC Squadron at Kenley in 1959, the airfield had only just lost its 'flying' status apart from 615 Gliding School with the fretwork fighters. Kenley had a gate guard Spitfire and was in a 1940 time warp with camo buildings and multiple pock marks to show its wartime raids plus it still had its original ops room (bungalow in a bunker) although rather gutted inside. This 'Bungalow' had survived the 18th Aug raid and was Kenleys only ops room for the main part of the Battle until they relocated to a butchers shop in Caterham, as the bungalow was seen by then to be very vulnerable. That this rather 'ordinary' building that had directed Kenleys Squadrons for those crucial months was left to decay and eventually demolished in a works and bricks 'clean up' was unbelievable, as it was quite sound,and could have made a fitting ATC or Gliding school office. That this wonderful little airfield situated on a Surrey common had survived the Luftwaffe onslaught, and sent its Squadrons into the fray on a daily basis was not commemorated on any information plaques anywhere and it eventually lost is Spitfire to a French museum (or as i said joined its mates that never came back). The actual flying field is still in its wartime state never having been enlarged to take jets, although some of the original e pens were demolished for no good reason. It is only recently that an effort has been made to explain Kenleys part in the Battle,but it always surprises me how much we threw away of its real history. This was an 11 Group front line Sector 'trench', it never had the publicity of nearby Biggin, but held the line when it mattered and was never out of action. Its Squadrons were credited with 603 German aircraft shot down,and eventually housed a Canadian Wing.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 20:46
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Originally Posted by Chugalug2 View Post
Yes and no about the "radar women". It's a typical woke Beeb piece.
Chugalug2 - I'm not an apologist for our national broadcaster but I'm not sure that the 'woke' epithet (a term that, before being claimed by particularly inclined elements of the media, referred to a degree of social awareness to which decent people should aspire), is appropriate in this case. The BBC article looks to have been driven by the RAF Benevolent Fund and their PR/Press team and was none the worse for that.

From a personal standpoint; as I grew up, I read anything I could find about this period in our history but came across little or nothing about the contributions of navigators, air gunners and other aircrew, let alone the 81% male pilots in the ATA and everyone who served on the ground. In my experience, in the last thirty years or so, there has been a great increase in the breadth of information available to the public. The BBC has played its part in that, for all that they might make errors of omission or detail.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 21:00
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BBC slashed 30 minutes off the McGregor documentry from the original.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 21:18
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Glass raised by me in a Isleworth pub this afternoon...
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 21:47
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MTPA, I wouldn't be surprised if the RAFBF PR/Press team knows exactly what the Beeb likes and gives them a story they will be sure to go with. That way everybody wins; RAFBF gets its publicity (and hence more funds hopefully), the Beeb gets another woke story they don't have to do for themselves, and "radar women" get their rightful place in the spotlight. Who can possibly object? Well me for one, but who cares as long as the ends justify the means?

I realise I will be accused of making a mountain out of an insignificant molehill, but that is exactly how the Beeb has changed since the Coltishall 1961 BoB video above (I notice the ORs address the interviewer as Sir, while the 'accounting' officer blithely explains away the display costs as essential continuation training, unchallenged!). It has an agenda which is promoted by an endless diet of woke (the term has now been commandeered from whatever its original meaning might have been) molehills. That is why I baulk at 'Radar Women'!
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