Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Recollections of War: The Battle of Britain: Part Two

Part of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

        Today is Battle of Britain Day.  Across Britain, Poland, France, Germany, Canada, America, and elsewhere, services of remembrance and commemoration are being held as many remember the bravery, heroism, and sacrifice of those who participated in the Battle of Britain.  It is has been seventy-five years since the climax of a battle in the skies which decided to a great degree the outcome of WWII.
        This was the day when, 75 years ago, the Royal Air Force defeated two major attacks by German Luftwaffe bombers and fighters on England and London.  61 Luftwaffe planes were destroyed at a cost of only 31 aircraft for the RAF.  These were the most severe losses that the Germans had suffered in the past month.  Over the next few days, the German High Command gradually stopped large daylight raids on Britain, and the Battle of Britain, while not completely over, was virtually won.
        Britain had survived - but only just.  Another week, and the tide might have turned the other way.  But that was not what happened.  In God's providence, the RAF defeated the Luftwaffe and ended the threat of invasion of Britain by the Germans.  Fighting would continue for another four years, but in one of the most heroic and desperate battles ever fought in the air, history was made and courage exemplified.
        At the end of the Battle, almost 1500 airmen from thirteen countries had given their lives in defense of Britain - and freedom. Following is a list, by country, of those who fought and died during the official period of the Battle of Britain: July 10 - October 31, 1940.

           Pilots                Nation             Killed in Action*
1878          United Kingdom            448
21                  Australia                     14
73               New Zealand                 11
88                  Canada                       20
21                South Africa                    9
2               South Rhodesia                 0
8                     Ireland                         0
7                United States                   1
141                Poland                        29
86            Czechoslovakia                 8
26                  Belgium                        6
13                   France                        0
1                      Israel                         0

German Losses During the Battle of Britain

     Bomber Crews:            2621
     Fighter-Bomber Crews:            297               
     Fighter Pilots:            171

May we never forget those who fought on both sides.

~ William A Moore

*Many more died of wounds received in the battle later on.

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