"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many, to so few"
The Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust
Founded by the Battle of Britian Fighter Association
Famous for its pivotal role as the Headquarters of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain in 1940 a trust has been set up to ensure that Bentley Priory is retained as a permanent living memorial to those who served in the Royal Air Force and fought in the Battle, and to acknowledge and recognise the sacrifices made by them and others to ensure the freedom of Europe and the World
The Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain, so named by Winston Churchill in a speech in the dark days of June 1940, is one of the decisive battles of history. Had the battle been lost, the whole course of world history would have been changed. It was fought in the skies above Britain from July until October. Churchill aptly described the aircrew who fought in the battle as "The Few". These were 2353 young men from Great Britain, with 574 from overseas. 544 lost their lives during the battle, and nearly 800 more died before the end of the Second World War.
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Winston Churchills review of the war August 1940
The gratitude of every home in our island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world except in the abodes of the guilty goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unweakened by their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of world war by their prowess and their devotion.
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aims their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often at serious loss, with deliberate, careful precision, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power.
On no part of the Royal Air Force does the weight of the war fall more heavily than on the daylight bombers, who will play an invaluable part in the case of an invasion and whose unflinching zeal it has been necessary in the meantime on numerous occasions to restrain.
The Royal Observer Corps
Headquarters Royal Observer Corps first came to RAF Bentley Priory in July 1936, along with Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, who had been appointed AOC-in-C of the newly formed Fighter Command and of which the Observer Corps was to play an integral part.
The Royal Observer Corps was a uniformed volunteer organisation that enjoyed a long association with the Royal Air Force. It was one of the cornerstones of Lord Dowding's air defence system and he said later in his despatch on the Battle of Britain: "It is important to note that at this time they (the Observer Corps) constituted the whole means of tracking enemy raids once they had crossed the coastline. Their work throughout was quite invaluable. Without it the air-raid warning systems could not have been operated and inland interceptions would rarely have been made."
Norman Greig MBE
Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge KCB CBE, Chairman
Deborah Aplin, Mr Jonathan Glancey, Mr Simon Greenish, Gareth Hird, Melissa John, Air Marshal Ian Macfadyen CB OBE, The Lord Rotherwick, Wg Cdr Leslie Powell, Mr John Steel QC, Group Captain Patrick Tootal OBE DL, Mr John Williams.
Architectural Advisor - Giles Quarme BA(Hons) DIP ARCH, DIP CONS (AA) RIBA FRAS
Education Advisor - Mrs Brenda Bigland CBE
Historic Story Advisor - Patrick Bishop
Mr Alan Curtis OBE - Founder, on behalf of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association