(Editor’s note: Thanks to the Daily mail for this great account; sadly these great patriots seems to have fought and died for nothing… considering England has surrendered to Muslims.)
They are the glorious Few, the airmen whose extraordinary bravery saved Britain from Nazi invasion.
Seventy years on, the heroes who repelled Hitler’s Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain are a dwindling band – it is thought only 79, all recorded on this article, are still alive.
Today a special anniversary service at Westminster Abbey will remember the efforts of all those who took part in the pivotal encounter, arguably the most important ever fought by this nation.
The last of "The Few." Some of the surviving RAF pilots and aircrew members from the Battle of Britain recently gathered for a photograph in the U.K. Daily Mail. The number corresponds to each man's profile in an article that accompanied the photo (Daily Mail). See here for profiles on each of these great heroes.
The future of Britain--indeed, the future of western democracy--was decided in the skies over England. The Battle of Britain was at its zenith; Spitfire and Hurricanes of the Royal Air Force rose daily to meet oncoming formations of fighters and bombers from Hitler's Luftwaffe, in a struggle for aerial supremacy.
German planners knew that control of the skies as absolutely vital; any attempt at invading Britain hinged on it. Without air superiority over the English Channel and the southern U.K., the Royal Navy's powerful Home Fleet, backed by the RAF, would decimate Germany's invasion forces and make landings impossible.
In hindsight, we know that many German officers harbored grave doubts about invading England. In mid-July 1940, on the heels of stunning Nazi victories in Norway, the Low Countries and France, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy (Kriegsmarine) told Hitler that an invasion should be contemplated only as a last resort, and only with full air superiority.
The commander of Hitler's sub fleet, Admiral Karl Donitz was even more pessimistic, telling Allied post-war debriefers that [Germany] was never in a position to gain control of the sea and the air, a point shared by many historians.
But the British couldn't operate on such assumptions during the dark days of 1940. They could only assume that the Luftwaffe's daily attacks were a prelude to a planned invasion, that would come only after the RAF had been chased from the skies.
That never happened, thanks in large measure to the gallantry of the RAF, particularly the young pilots and aircrew members who battled long odds in turning back the Germans. As we've noted in previous posts, the Hawker Hurricane--not the vaunted Spitfire--was the backbone of Britain's Fighter Command in 1940.
Winston Churchill aptly summarized the contributions of the RAF during his speech to the House of Commons on 20 August 1940. "Never in the field of human conflict," he famously intoned, "was so much owed by so many to so few." Churchill conceived the line several days earlier, during a visit to a fighter control center at RAF Uxbridge. Watching an air battle unfold on plotting tables, the Prime Minister grasped the magnitude of the situation, realizing that his nation's fate was riding in the cockpits of "Hurrys," "Spits," "Beaufighters" and "Defiants" that defended British skies.
At least 544 RAF aircrew members were killed during the Battle of Britain.