A Stained Glass Window Illustration Dedicated to ‘Battle of Britain’ Veterans

Undoubtedly, Adolf Hitler had a number of illusions and dreams shattered one after another as the conflict in the Europe intensified. Hitler was under the false impression that invasion of Britain would be a rather ‘walk-over’ for German Army supported by the Luftwaffe. However, British troops and especially the gallant RAF pilots in their ‘Spitfires’ and ‘Hurricanes’ surprised the ‘Fuhrer’ by absolutely smashing the Luftwaffe to smithereens. As a result Hitler was forced to abandon his ambitions of British invasion for good.

British Prime Minister dubbed this conflict as the ‘Battle of Britain’ and equated the victory of the battle with the existence of British nation. After British Army and RAF won the battle, Winston Churchill made the famous comment that nowhere in the history so much was owed by so many.

A group of surviving Battle of Britain veterans attended a ceremony last week held at a former command center for the RAF fighters during the Second World War. The Ceremony was held to unveil a series of stained glass windows in commemoration of the radar system and its operators, which helped RAF to overcome the ruthless Luftwaffe in 1940.

The stained glass windows are installed at the Bentley Priory Museum in North London. The windows illustrate the critical job done by RAF engineers and scientists in successfully tracking the incoming Luftwaffe assaults and communicating the information with command center to launch adequate defense by RAF fighters.

The site in Stanmore, north London was a fighter command center that operated during the Battle of Britain in 1940. The Commander in chief of the center was Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding, who worked tirelessly during the war dispatching his fighters from the airfields across the country to counter the German bombers, The Telegraph reports.

Dowding and his team of scientists devised an effective communication system especially in the wake of German attacks. Their system made it possible for the commanders on ground to know the situation in the skies, which helped them in strategizing an effective defense mechanism for RAF pilots.

The communication system was appropriately dubbed as ‘Dowding system’. The system utilized the best of the technology available at the time such as Radio Direction finding (now called the radar system), to team up with traditional ground observers and anti aircraft artillery to form one sophisticated and lethal defense body.

The plan did work and an adequate defense mechanism was put in place, resulting in a number of British victories in skies. Luftwaffe’s plan for a quick air dominance could not be realized thanks to the gallant fighters and engineers of RAF.

Visit the Bentley Priory Museum website

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE