On 20 August 1940, five days after the Royal Air Force's decisive victory over the Luftwaffe, Winston Churchill immortalised their contribution in the Battle of Britain with his 'The Few' speech.
Photo: Some of 'the Few' relaxing between sorties at RAF Hawkinge in Kent, July 1940. Each man wears his life-jacket to save time when the call to scramble comes. (IWM HU 1062)
Lady Soames and Gore Vidal offer their thoughts on the origins of Churchill's oratorical skills.
Lady Soames, Churchill's daughter, describes his astounding memory and his skills as an orator. Gore Vidal, meanwhile, claims Churchill was influenced by an Irish-American speaker called William Bourke Cochran.
The Few were the Allied airmen of the Royal Air Force (RAF) who fought the Battle of Britain in the Second World War. The term comes from Winston Churchill's phrase "Never, in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many to so few." It also alludes to Shakespeare's famous speech in his play, Henry V: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers..."
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