Seventy-five years ago this week, the Battle of Britain was at its peak, characterised by the most intense period of Nazi Luftwaffe bombing of Britain that took place between 10 July and 31 October 1940. The name derives from a speech by Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “The Battle of France is over… the Battle of Britain is about to begin”.
|HMSO poster echoing Churchill’s
famous words of August 20, 1940
“Never in the field of human conflict
was so much owed by so many
to so few”
Initially, from around July 1940, the target was British ports and shipping; the Luftwaffe then moved on to target RAF airfields and infrastructure in an attempt to take control of the air; and finally London and other major cities were targeted. The objective was to defeat the Royal Air Force and establish air supremacy, and thus either force British surrender or make an invasion (“Operation Sealion”) possible. Hitler’s failure to achieve this was a major turning point in the Second World War.
Today we’ll be remembering the Battle of Britain with music of the war years, extracts from famous speeches and news broadcasts, and actuality recorded at the time including interviews with pilots, along with classic film music from movies depicting the events, including scores by both Sir William Walton and Ron Goodwin for the 1969 film The Battle Of Britain.
Then at 11am and 7pm Pacific Time (7pm and 3am UK time) we’ll be broadcasting the moving hour-long documentary based on the poem For Johnny by John Pudney, and first broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1965, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
The header image shows Hurricane Mk1, RAF serial R4118, squadron code UP-W, UK civil registration G-HUPW, at the Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford, Gloucestershire, England. The aircraft was delivered new to 605 (County of Warwick) Squadron in August 1940. It flew 49 combat sorties from Croydon, England, destroying 3 enemy aircraft and damaging 2 others. Still painted in its original markings, R4118 is the only Hurricane from the Battle of Britain still flying. Photo by (Wikimedia, public domain)
Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin. If you are in the United States or Canada, please click here to launch the Stream Licensing player. To listen from outside North America, click here to start your player .
This programme is also available in enhanced-quality AAC. Tune in here: http://220.127.116.11:9000/stream.m3u