15th September 1940 marks the day we celebrated the Battle of Britain. Even though the battle took place between July to October 1940 - 15th September was the chosen date as that was when the RAF claimed we had a decisive victory over the German Luftwaffe.

What was the Battle of Britain?

After the fall of France and their formal surrender on 22nd June, the German forces would soon set their sights on Britain, as they planned to invade Britain by Air. A few days beforehand, in hopes to prepare the people of Britain, Winston Churchill gave his famous speech:

Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.

Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward in to broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have know and cared for. Will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour'.

-Winston Churchill - Finest hour

9th July began the first fighting over the English Channel, the Commander in Chief of Fighter Command - Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding had been working hard to create a system of defence for Britain that he had been refining more and more since 22nd June (the fall of France). All factors apart of this system was vital for Britain to overcome the German Luftwaffe that, at the time, had superiority in numbers.

Moving into August, the Battle of Britain fierce, even 18th August was dubbed 'The Hardest Day' as both sides suffered a large amount of casualties, more than throughout the entire conflict. The attack on the RAF (dubbed the Eagle attack) actually began on 13th August and began some of the most intense fighting over southeast Britain. Despite the Luftwaffe's attempt to destroy our airfield and radars, it was ultimately a failure. The British forces even created diversions by constructing false air bases to lure away the Luftwaffe from attacking our actual bases.

Later on in the month on 25th August, British Bombers flew over to begin attacking Berlin. In response, during September, the German forces decided to raid Britain with a force of 100 aircrafts to target London Docks. Through all this the RAF was successful and won a huge victory against the German war machine, proving to the rest of the world that the Germans were not invincible and could be defeated.

This served as a huge morale boost to not only the British forces but also the rest of the world that opposed Hitler's forces.

How can you celebrate?

To celebrate there are a number of events happening all around the UK in commemoration to Battle of Britain, including air shows and historical displays.

The Bentley Priory Museum is hosting its event on Saturday 18th September. You will be treated to Spitfire Flypasts (depending on the weather) as well as a plethora of 1940s themed events and activities - including a live performance from the Harrow Apollo Male Choir singing 1940s songs. If you are interested and want to find more information about the event at Bentley Priory Museum then click the link.

                                                                                                                                                              Photo by Angel Luciano on Unsplash

Imperial War Museum Duxford will be hosting an Air show lasting over the weekend starting Saturday 18th September through to Sunday 19th September. The event will let you experience the past; letting you see and hear these historical planes overhead! In this event you are also invited to check out the museum, hangars and airfield. There will be 1940s music and entertainment throughout the day. If this is something that interests you then please visit the IWM Duxford website. It will be required to get tickets in advanced before attending.

If you cannot make it to any events or do not feel safe because of covid then why not do some crafting using the Battle of Britain as a primary theme or do some reading, research the historical event and learn more about the heroes that fought in it.

                                                                                                                                                                Photo by Daniel Cooke on Unsplash

The images used on this article are credited to:

Photo by Angel Luciano on Unsplash

Photo by Daniel Cooke on Unsplash