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Battle Of Britain Memorial
Battle Of Britain Memorial, Kent
By early June 1940 the Dunkirk evacuation of the British army from France was complete. On June 22nd the French government signed an armistice with Germany, ending the battle for France. Following a short pause, the Battle of Britain began, officially starting on July 10th. The Luftwaffe aimed to destroy Fighter Command by 13th of August, and failing to do so they attacked airfields, and then turned to mass attacks on London. By 20th of August it seemed that the RAF would be able to hold out against the Luftwaffe, and on that day in Parliament Winston Churchill made his famous speech in which he said: "never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few."
A memorial to pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain has been built at Capel le Ferne near Folkestone in Kent, an area where a great deal of intense fighting took place in the skies overhead. There is a visitors' centre, a Spitfire and a Hurricane aircraft, a flag mast which stood at Biggin Hill airfield during the battle, and the memorial itself, which consists of a huge representation of a propeller laid out in the grass, with a statue of a young pilot in the middle looking out to sea. I found walking around the memorial a moving experience. The pilot is staring out over the sea. He looks reflective and peaceful, as though it's all over now and he can sit back and think about the past. There is also a sense, however, that he is still watching the sky for enemy aircraft. He is in full flight kit, ready to go. If the call came he would jump up and run off to the Spitfire parked outside the visitors' centre where people are having cups of tea. This is a thoughtful memorial, fittingly reflective, with an immediacy, which suggests the atmosphere of those months in the summer of 1940. The memorial is tranquil, and yet there is still a feeling that any moment now...
Every year on the closest Sunday to the date of the start of the Battle of Britain a Memorial Day parade is held, with a fly past by the Battle of Britain Flight. The Memorial Trust organises regular tours in south east England of places connected with the Battle of Britain. Use the contact details below for more information.
Opening Times: Please use contact details below
Address: Battle of Britain Memorial, New Dover Road, Capel-le-Ferne, Kent CT18 7JJ
Directions: The memorial is just off the B2011at Capel le Ferne. Click here for an interactive map of the area around the Battle of Britain Memorial. Use the satellite view to see the propellor design laid out on the ground.
Access: Disabled access is good. The memorial is on one level.
telephone: 01303 249292
web site: http://www.battleofbritainmemorial.org/