WWII: The Battle of Britain | Memories of 'Britain's finest hour'
CHANNEL | Home Service
FIRST BROADCAST | 22 May 1945
DURATION | 13 minutes 40 seconds
Wing Commander Ronald Adams vividly brings to life the activities of the staff who gathered information about sightings of enemy aircraft and gave the orders to 'scramble'. Among other things, he talks about how Operations Rooms didn't exist in World War I, the various code words they used in communicating with pilots, the limitations of radar, working while the aerodrome was being bombed and how close they came to defeat in the Battle of Britain.
Modern air-traffic control systems still use many of the terms developed during this period. Transponder codes, for example, are known as squawks. The origin of this is the instruction to 'squawk your parrot', which was a direction from the control room to the fighter plane to turn on its transponder so that it could be located and plotted on a map. The transponders would then emit an identification signal known as a parrot, which would identify the plane as friendly.
'The news from France is very bad.'
BBC reporter Charles Gardner comments live on a dogfight over the Channel.
A rousing message of encouragement to the nation from the Minister of Aircraft Production.
The perils of a pilot's life.
Robin Duff reports from the scene of an attack on a convoy in the Channel.
Day-by-day re-enactment of encounters with the enemy.
A pilot vividly recounts his experience of being shot down over the North Sea.
Memories of events in the hot summer of 1940.
Recalling the vital role of the Operations Room team.
Battle of Britain tactics, strategies and post-campaign conspiracies.
The Battle of Britain was won by 'everyone in this country'.
Commander-in-Chief Hugh Dowding talks about the Battle of Britain.
What 'The Few' did next.
The story of the race to design and build a fighter plane fit to win a war.
Celebrating an iconic symbol of Britain's 'finest hour'.
Recollections of war by a pilot ace.
Frank views from a Battle of Britain fighter pilot.
'A symbol of defiance and hope for Britain in the dark days of 1940.'
What would have happened next if Germany had won the Battle of Britain?
Archaeologists explore the site of the RAF airbase at Hornchurch.
The story of the squadron that fought the battle before the Battle of Britain.
Two members of the Observer Corps describe their duties.
Charles Gardner spends time with RAF pilots in combat.
The results of an urgent inquiry into the controversial radio report are analysed.
A warning about items recovered from German planes shot down in England.
Air Marshal Joubert is to broadcast thanks to the Empire for donations.
How an aerial dogfight starts, proceeds and ends.
A technical description of Britain's famous fighter plane.
The tactics of an air battle over Dover analysed in detail.
Air Marshal Joubert suggests subjects for his BBC broadcasts during the Battle of Britain.
Notes on the character of captured German pilots.
Transcript of a government publication about the role of the anti-aircraft defences.
How best to mark the third anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Why marking the anniversary of the Battle of Britain is so important.
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