Out of the World War One frying pan, and into the World War Two fire… It’s 75 yrs since the Battle of Britain, in the course of which over 1500 British aircrew, 2600 German aircrew and around 40,000 civilians were killed. Of those who fought Churchill said: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”. The most iconic sight and sound of the Battle of Britain has to the Spitfire, probably the most well-known fighter plane of all time. My wife’s grandpa, Philip Carr, had the opportunity after the war to fly one and it was always a real joy to hear him talk about his experience. And my own granddad, Dennis Booth, helped build the Merlin engines that powered them (although he started his apprenticeship after the end of the Battle of Britain in 1943 – incidentally he was the first deaf person to work for Rolls Royce).
But despite mine and everyone’s love of the Supermarine Spitfire, I always have a great amount of respect for the wood and canvas Hawker Hurricane and those who flew them. Would take a lot of guts to go up in one of those things! I also think that we should remember all the German aircrew that died as well. Ok, they were the “bad guys” but I think sometimes we forget that not all the Germans fighting in World War Two were “evil” and they died too (hence the Heinkel 111). I mean, we always like to remember acts of heroism during war, but no matter the heroics it doesn’t offset the loss of life of such an immense scale and it’s sobering to think that 100 years ago or even 75 I could have been in a
Hurricane Spitfire (sorry Hurricane made it sound like I could have been involved in natural disaster) or a trench rather than sitting on a sofa writing a blog.
And on that happy note…