WWII: The Battle of Britain | Memories of 'Britain's finest hour'
Document Type | Transcript
This document is an extract from a now iconic publication that celebrated the often unsung work of the men and women who operated and assisted the anti-aircraft guns. They spent long and often monotonous days and nights searching out and shooting down enemy aircraft that had made it past the planes of Fighter Command. The transcript records how, in September 1940, when the Nazis changed tactics and decided to bomb London, the gunners, with only the altitude of the aircraft to guide them, sent up barrages of gunfire that successfully saw the enemy off.
Until 1941, women were restricted to 'non-operational' roles in the war effort, but as the conflict moved further afield and men were increasingly recruited to serve in the overseas campaigns, it became necessary to use women from the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in the Anti-Aircraft Command. Mixed batteries were inaugurated in August 1941 and drew large crowds of observers, who marvelled in fascination. By 1942, more women than men were working on anti-aircraft sites. They could do the jobs of radar operators, height finders, spotters and predictors, but they still weren't permitted to pull the trigger on the guns.
'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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