Aviation Classics - Issue 6 - Battle of Britain
A message from the Editor:
Welcome to Aviation Classics, a new series of high-quality glossy publications centred on the world's greatest aircraft, the events in which they played crucial roles and those who flew, maintained and supported them.
It was with some humility that I chose the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain as the subject for this issue of Aviation Classics. As I witnessed several occasions marking the event, it struck me how much widespread national respect there still is for those who fought that crucial aerial battle. But alas, as highlighted within these pages in the interview with 'Stapme' Stapleton, 'The Few' are getting ever fewer. I was saddened to think of how 'Stapme' would have been so keenly involved with this year's commemorations, so I tried hard to ensure that the precious time I was privileged to spend with the veterans, now mostly in their 90s, had a strong input to this publication.
The first time I met a veteran of the Battle is still strong in my memory. I was an Air Cadet at the time, and on summer camp at RAF Manston in Kent - itself a famous Battle of Britain airfield. The Manston Spitfire Memorial Building had only recently been opened, and we were most excited to be shown around the fighter by Robert Stanford Tuck. It made my will to join the Royal Air Force ever stronger.
At the time of the Battle's 50th anniversary in 1990, I was serving overseas at Brüggen with the RAF Germany Tornado force. I felt slightly envious of those lucky enough to be on parade for the occasion outside Buckingham Palace on 15 September, but our job had just taken a serious turn. Following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces, the first jets from Brüggen had left for the Gulf on 27 August. After many years dominated by Cold War operations in Europe, suddenly Tornados were departing to a desert environment unfamiliar to the personnel of the time. So on the brink of that important anniversary the RAF was taking on a new challenge, though as stated by Geoffrey Wellum on page 129 the ethos and Esprit de Corps of the Service hasn't changed - and when the Gulf War later began it again fought with distinction.
I sincerely hope that this edition of Aviation Classics, first published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, highlights the debt we owe to 'The Few'. - Jarrod Cotter, Editor
About this issue:
Edited and compiled once again by Jarrod Cotter, the issue comprises the publication’s now-established high-quality mix of features and photographs. This 132 page glossy A4 perfect bound 'bookazine' includes the following -
- Numerous aspects of the crucial aerial conflict which took place in the summer of 1940.
- How RAF Fighter Command fought off the Luftwaffe preventing it from gaining aerial supremacy – thus saving Britain which was on the brink of invasion and bringing about a turning point in World War Two.
- The aircraft, squadrons and the airmen involved. Some of 2010’s significant occurrences to mark the occasion in this milestone year.
|6||Introduction - The debt we owe|
|8||The letter that changed the course of history|
|10||The Battle of Britain|
|22||Spitfire or Hurricane - which was the best fighter in the Battle of Britain?|
|28||Spitfire versus Bf 109 - From a technical viewpoint|
|30||RAF Bentley Priory - HQ Fighter Command|
|34||Kent's place of pilgrimage|
|40||Battle Honour - Battle of Briatin 1940|
|42||Making an epic|
|46||Corpo Aereo Italiano|
|48||Like a pea falling on a tin plate|
|52||Battle of Britain spirit flies on in the RAF|
|56||The Battle on canvas|
|58||They also served|
|66||RAF Duxford - Battle of Britain fighter station|
|74||Telling the story of the Battle|
|78||Taming the 'Sea Lion'|
|84||Biggin Hill's RAF Chapel - of Rememberance|
|88||Across the Channel|
|92||Messerschmitt Bf 109E cockpit|
|94||'Defender of London' 1940|
|102||Paying the price of freedom|
|110||Battle of Britain Day|
|116||'Stapme' Stapleton - One of 'The Few'|
|122||Tribute to 'The Few'|