Wednesday 23rd September 2020
St John’s Place, Lower Road, Bemerton, SP2 9NP
In the early summer of 1940, RAF Fighter Command led by Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding was faced with the dilemma of bolstering the crumbling defence of France or withholding its resources in order to defend the United Kingdom. Fortunately, under his leadership, those precious resources were husbanded, developed and refined and in July 1940 the ‘Dowding System’ was put to the test. This ‘system’ was to prove its worth later that long, hot summer when the German Luftwaffe sent sortie after sortie across the English Channel with the objective of destroying the RAF and thus clearing the skies in preparation of a full-scale invasion of Southern England. Vastly outnumbered during those frenzied months, fewer than 3000 young men flew multiple daily sorties against the mighty Luftwaffe but despite horrendous casualties they ultimately prevailed through inspirational leadership, professionalism, technological innovation and the dedication of a myriad of supporting ground crew. As Sir Winston Churchill famously said, “never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few”.
Entrance for members is included in your annual subscription. For non-members, entrance is £10 (cash only) at the door.
Colonel Paul Beaver is very much a hands-on historian with a pilot’s logbook which includes the Spitfire, Harvard and Mustang. He is an acknowledged expert on the Spitfire, the Battle of Britain, the Dambuster raid, Naval Aviation and Cold War operations. He is a Vice-President of the Spitfire Society and his latest book, ‘Spitfire Evolution’, is a concise story of the remarkable development of that aircraft.