Friday, 24 September 2010

Remembering 'The Few'.

The last two weeks have seen me wearing my silver R.A.F wings with pride in the memory of all those incredible people who were involved in The Battle of Britain, the 70th anniversary of which was last week.
The brooch is a reproduction of the ones pilots gave to their wives/girlfriends in WW2.
There have bee some fantastic and fascinating programmes on television that I have been lapping up. One called Spitfire Women came just as I am part way through the brilliant book of the same title.

Oh, it just made me want to be one of them so badly! I would love to learn to fly but not modern planes or jets, oh no, for me it would have to be a Spitfire, a Mustang or nothing.
I have to say planes have been a part of my life since it began. My father was in the R.A.F for 50 years and I have been going to air shows since I was a babe in arms, literally! All through my childhood years they were a source of ice creams and not much else and as I got older 'Boooooring' but by my early teens I became interested in the 1940's and WW2 planes in particular and a passion was born. Now just the sound of a merlin engine sends a thrill to my heart and I will run out of the house and look skywards as soon as I hear it. The Imperial War Museum at Duxford is one of my favourite places in the world to go.
So this time has been one to remember all those who served and just what they did for us. When you go to the American Air Museum at Duxford you have to walk a winding path up the slope to the entrance. It has these beautiful glass screens on each side of the pathway, etched with the outlines of American WW2 planes. I remember thinking what a clever design idea it was, to make the long pathway more attractive, then you get to the top and there is a little sign that says 'each plane etched in the glass represents an American airman who took off but never returned' . So you turn and look back at this screen and the sheer number of tiny planes is almost overwhelming.

But I digress, this was meant to be about the Battle of Britain. There are many who claim the tide of the war was turned by this epic period of warfare only because Goering changed his fighting tactics, or because of the arrival of the Spitfire, or the use of the Hurricane. Perhaps it was because of the highly experienced Polish airmen who gave up everything to fight for what they believed in, or those incredible women who delivered the planes freeing up more male pilots to fly in combat. Or perhaps the incredible young men who flew mission after mission after mission to the point of exhaustion. I say it was due to them all and I remember and thank them all.

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