Hello to all of you, trust you are all fine and have been following the air shows and commemorations covering the 75th Anniversary of The Battle of Britain. I was fortunate enough to be in the London area from early September and was over whelmed by the activities which one could attend in person, or if not, to watch on the TV coverage. It was a bit of a disappointment to have to return to S.A. at the end of September as there was still a lot of air shows to attend.

One of the highlights of the trip was to visit the new building called the ” WING ” at the National Memorial to The Few which was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 26th March 2015.

The Memorial,  originally the idea of the late Wing Commander Geoffrey Page DSO OBE DFC, himself a veteran of The Battle, located on the white cliffs very close to Folkestone, has been there for a number of years, and was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on 9th June 1993. The new WING  section was an ambitious scheme by The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust to create an experience, a high – tech audio visual presentation designed to appeal particularly to the younger generation and ensure that The Few are never forgotten.

The WING is really something to be seen, designed to resemble the wing of a Spitfire, it not only has the museum section but a shop selling all sorts of memorabilia and a coffee shop upstairs. I’m attaching a few photo’s which I took together with the diagram of the whole layout of the site I copied from the official brochure.

The two main features at Capel – le – Ferne  is the  site of the Memorial itself which is a statue of a seated airman looking out to sea. He sits of a propeller boss surrounded by the badges of all the Allied squadrons and other units that took  part in the Battle. The blades of the propeller are set into the ground, making the memorial as striking from the air as it is to the visitor.

The other magnificent feature is the Christopher Foxley – Norris Memorial Wall which brings into sharp focus the reason the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust cares for this site at the top of England’s famous white cliffs. Named in memory of a former Hurricane pilot, who served as the first President of the Trust, the black granite memorial wall list the names of the 2937 airmen who have been awarded the Battle of Britain clasp. The wall was unveiled by HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO, the Patron of the Trust, on 3rd July 2005. Air Chief Marshal Sir Chistopher Foxley – Norris and his wife Lady Foxley – Norris, provided the funds that enabled the wall to be built in response to Geoffrey Page’s wish that The Few should be listed  at the Memorial.

Next to the Memorial wall is a bust of Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith  Park, the man who commanded 11 Group, Fighter Command, during the Battle of Britain and who has been described as the tactical commander who won the Battle. It was said by Lord Tedder, at that time Chief of the Air Staff, in 1947.

” If ever any one man won the Battle of Britain, Park did. I don’t believe it is realised how much that one man, with his leadership, his calm judgement and his skill did to save not only his country but the world “

There are a number of other features to be seen but I will save those for you to discover yourselves. I would really advocate that anyone who is a Battle of Britain enthusiast should take time out to travel down to Capel – le – Ferne to see the memorial. There is a very interesting air force museum,  RAF Manston, located at what was originally Manston Airfield but is now known as Kent International Airport. There is also a very small but pleasant restaurant which also have some very interesting exhibits,( Spitfire & Hurricane.) to name a few  which would make your visit really worth while.

Enjoy and should you require any further information just drop me an e – mail.

John Mackenzie    mackhome@telkomsa.net

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