CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

NOT SO LONG AGO: RAF Battle of Britain

 

 

 

 

 

RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight that pays tribute to airmen who saved us from tyranny of the Nazis

 

  • First memorial flight flown in September 1945 over The Mall in central London
  • RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight team formed in 1957 by Peter Thompson
  • Permanent reminder of 544 RAF aircrew killed during Battle of Britain in 1940
  • Keith Wilson behind Battle of Britain Memorial Flight book published by Haynes

The six Spitfires, two Hurricanes, a Lancaster, a Dakota and two Chipmunks delight thousands of spectators each year at flying displays across Britain.

And now a glorious set of previously-unseen photographs documenting the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight over the years has been released.

The first memorial flight was flown in September 1945 over The Mall in central London, and the event soon became an annual commemoration.

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Team effort: A Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane perform in a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight over Kent in August 2012. This image is taken from a book by Keith Wilson

Team effort: A Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane perform in a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight over Kent in August 2012. This image is taken from a book by Keith Wilson

Classic plane: The flight operates six Spitfires (one pictured over Coningsby in October 2012), two Hurricanes, a Lancaster, a Dakota and two Chipmunks

Classic plane: The flight operates six Spitfires (one pictured over Coningsby in October 2012), two Hurricanes, a Lancaster, a Dakota and two Chipmunks

Up in the air: Chipmunk trainers in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which performs at flying displays across Britain every summer

Up in the air: Chipmunk trainers in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which performs at flying displays across Britain every summer

Inside view: The RAF's Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight team take flight in their Dakota aircraft, to perform a flypast over the RAF Museum in Hendon, north-west London

Inside view: The RAF's Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight team take flight in their Dakota aircraft, to perform a flypast over the RAF Museum in Hendon, north-west London

Saluting history: A Lancaster in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is pictured. The plane played a vital role in defeating the Nazis during the Second World War

Saluting history: A Lancaster in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is pictured. The plane played a vital role in defeating the Nazis during the Second World War

Old and new: A special formation to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain was flown along the south coast in June 1990 with a Concorde and a Spitfire

Old and new: A special formation to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain was flown along the south coast in June 1990 with a Concorde and a Spitfire

Magnificent men: A Spifire in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is pictured.  Photographer Keith Wilson was given full official access to the Flight to give a pictorial insight

Magnificent men: A Spifire in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is pictured. Photographer Keith Wilson was given full official access to the Flight to give a pictorial insight

The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight team was formed just over a decade later in 1957 by Wing Commander Peter Thompson.

It serves as a permanent reminder of the 544 RAF aircrew killed during the Battle of Britain of the Second World War in the summer and autumn of 1940.

Photographer Keith Wilson has been granted official access to the flight for a new Haynes Publishing book to give a pictorial insight into all its activities.

 

The pictures include those from the aircraft and their crews to ground crews and support staff, and from display planning to major winter overhauls.

Nearly 3,000 RAF pilots, including hero Douglas Bader who lost both legs but carried on flying, were involved in the Battle more than 70 years ago.

The Chipmunk trainers and Spitfire take to the sky

 

Aerial view: The Phantom of the Ruhr in flight along the south coast near Dover in August 2012. The aircraft is painted to represent Lancaster III, EE139

Aerial view: The Phantom of the Ruhr in flight along the south coast near Dover in August 2012. The aircraft is painted to represent Lancaster III, EE139

Upside down: PS915 was repainted in 2004 to replicate PS888, which carried out the last operational sortie flown by an RAF Spitfire in 1954, hence 'The Last' wording

Upside down: PS915 was repainted in 2004 to replicate PS888, which carried out the last operational sortie flown by an RAF Spitfire in 1954, hence 'The Last' wording

Soaring above: The LF363 Hurricane was photographed here during a special air-to-air photoshoot close to the south-east coast of England in August 2012

Soaring above: The LF363 Hurricane was photographed here during a special air-to-air photoshoot close to the south-east coast of England in August 2012

Flying close: A Hurricane and Spitfire take part in a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The photos are taken from a book by Keith Wilson, and Haynes Publishing

Flying close: A Hurricane and Spitfire take part in a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The photos are taken from a book by Keith Wilson, and Haynes Publishing

Close call: When the Synchro routine is displayed, both of these aircraft fly a series of opposition manoeuvres, much like the Red Arrows display team

Close call: When the Synchro routine is displayed, both of these aircraft fly a series of opposition manoeuvres, much like the Red Arrows display team

Royal seal: The traditional Battle of Britain Memorial Flight formation of the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane approaches Buckingham Palace in July 2005

Royal seal: The traditional Battle of Britain Memorial Flight formation of the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane approaches Buckingham Palace in July 2005

Getting ready: Technicians from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight load poppies onto the Lancaster in preparation for a drop over central London in June 2012

Getting ready: Technicians from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight load poppies onto the Lancaster in preparation for a drop over central London in June 2012

Let go: A poppy drop over the unveiling of the Bomber Command War Memorial in Green Park offers amazing views across central London

Let go: A poppy drop over the unveiling of the Bomber Command War Memorial in Green Park offers amazing views across central London

Black and whtie: Spitfires PR XIX PM631, PS853 and PS915 fly from Duxford to Biggin Hill with a 46 Hawker Hunter F5 of 41 Squadron and Gloster Javelin FAW1 from 46 Squadron

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Black & white: Spitfires PR XIX PM631, PS853 and PS915 fly (left) from Duxford to Biggin Hill with a 46 Hawker Hunter F5 and Gloster Javelin FAW1. The book is seen right

Days gone by: Nearly 3,000 RAF pilots, including hero Douglas Bader who lost both legs but carried on flying, were involved in the Battle more than 70 years ago

Days gone by: Nearly 3,000 RAF pilots, including hero Douglas Bader who lost both legs but carried on flying, were involved in the Battle more than 70 years ago

They fought the most important battle this country ever faced and their victory saved Britain from the tyranny of Nazi Germany.

The battle was the only one ever fought entirely in the air. It was a pivotal turning point of the war, persuading Hitler to scrap a planned UK invasion.

At the time many airmen were in their late teens or early 20s when they took to the skies in Spitfires and Hurricanes from July to October 1940.

Others flew in Blenheims, Beaufighters and Defiants, becoming the ‘aces’ of the Battle, shooting down plane after plane.

 

 

 

 

 

Blitz Britain: Amazing colour pictures of London under siege from Nazi bombers during World War II

For many, photographs from the World War II have only been seen in grainy black and white.

But now, new colour images have emerged that show the full horror of the destruction inflicted by Nazi bombings across London.

The powerful images were released to mark the 70th anniversary of the launch of Winston Churchill's 'V for Victory' campaign on July 19, 1941.

Life goes on: Workers clear the rubble from a building decimated in a heavy German air raid bombing during the Battle of Britain

Clearing up: Workers remove rubble from a building decimated in a heavy German air raid during the Blitz. Wallpaper inside the shattered bedrooms can even be seen in the gap left in the row of houses

Standing tall: The spire of the Central Criminal Court - better known as the Old Bailey - rises defiantly in a landscape scarred by a heavy German air raid

Standing tall: The spire of the Central Criminal Court - better known as the Old Bailey - rises defiantly while all around it buildings have become jagged shells in a landscape scarred by the relentless German bombings

On the night of October 14 1940, a bomb penetrated the road and exploded in Balham Underground station, killing 68 people. A No 88 bus travelling in black-out conditions then fell into the crater.

On the night of October 14 1940, a bomb penetrated the road and exploded in Balham Underground station, killing 68 people. A No 88 bus travelling in black-out conditions then fell into the crater.

High-street terror: The incredible destruction of the Blitz is revealed in this image as a double decker bus is plunged into a bombed crater

In this extraordinary picture, the double-decker bus is still visible amid crumbling tarmac and bent girders left in an enormous crater caused by a bomb which landed in the middle of a Balham high street, south London

Ablaze: Fire from a direct hit destroys the inside of this building leaving only a shell Ghost town: A road in London lies covered in rubble

 

 

Ablaze: Firemen battle to control flames raging through a town house ravaged by a direct hit in 1940, while right, this eerie image shows a London road deserted and covered in rubble after an air raid

The genesis for the campaign began in January of that year when Belgian minister Victor de Laveleye suggested that his country uses the V as a rallying symbol. This was then adopted by the BBC and then Winston Churchill began to use the term later that year and waved the V sign with his right hand.

Other European leaders soon followed Churchill's lead.

The Prime Minister's campaign was launched after the Luftwaffe launched its sustained bombing of cities across Britain. Unsurprisingly, London bore the brunt of the raids between between September 7, 1940 and May 10, 1941.

The capital suffered 76 continuous nights of attacks which obliterated more than one million homes, while across Britain some 40,000 people were killed.

But even after eight months of bombing, British industrial production was never seriously hampered and the war effort continued to operate and expand.

Despite the terrifying raids by the Luftwaffe, they attacks failed to breaks the spirit of the British people. People pressed on with their lives and in one of these extraordinary images a man can be seen in a park calmly reading a book while a barrage balloon hovers close by.

To see more colour pictures of The Blitz click here.

Preparing for battle: As ground crewmen inspect a Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane in a deserted field outside of London in 1941 pilots discuss their strategy for fighting in the air

Preparing for battle: A noticeably young ground crewmen prepare a Spitfire in a field outside of London during the height of the Battle of Britain. In the foreground a group of pilots pause to discuss tactics

Stiff upper lip: A man reads a book while sitting on a park bench as a moored balloon floats in the background. A second one soars into the distance

Stiff upper lip: A man determined to keep a sense of normality reads a book on a park bench as a moored barrage balloon, designed to scupper air attacks, floats in the background and a second, right, soars above

The random nature of the bombing is clearly demonstrated here as a church, right, remains untouched while a vast swathe of buildings close by were reduced to rubble

The random nature of the bombing is clearly demonstrated here as a church, right, remains untouched while a vast swathe of buildings close by were reduced to rubble

Wreckage: A construction crew carries out the task of completing the demolition of a site largely destroyed in an air raid

Wreckage: Workers wielding pick-axes and shovels are tasked with clearing away the remains of bombed building that would have once stood next to this Central London church

Landmarks: The view across the River Thames of the House of Parliament in scaffolding in 1941

A symbol of resilience: The Houses of Parliament with part of them covered in scaffolding are seen across the River Thames on a sunny day in 1941

 

Getting away from it all... in 1948: The fascinating photographs that reveal what life on a dude ranch in Wyoming used to look like

  • Photographs reveal what cattle ranch retreats looked like for rich city workers looking for a country break
  • Visitors could take part in horseback riding, skiing, fishing and hiking in the stunning mountains around the ranches
  • Many ranchers gave up their cattle livelihood to focus on offering activities and accommodation for guests

Saddle up and prepare to be taken back to the world of dude ranches in this series of nostalgic snapshots from 1948.

Escaping the stresses of early 20th century city life, 'dudes' would journey from the hustle and bustle in search of a Western retreat.

Cattle ranchers in places such as Jackson Hole saw the opportunity to open up watering-hole saloons and accommodation for these wannabe cowboys.

As the lure of fresh air, horseback riding and fishing pulled in vast numbers, many ranchers gave up their cattle livelihood completely to focus on offering ranch activities and accommodation for tourists.

By 1940, 25,000 visitors would flock to ranches such as Jackson Hole in Wyoming, to witness the spectacular mountains and meadows. 

And not only this, handsome college kids were employed by the ranches in order to bring the gallant cowboy feel alive for paying visitors.

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Howdy boys: A room full of patrons gambling at The Cowboy Bar in Jackson Hole in Wyoming, after flocking from the city for a break

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Howdy boys: A room full of patrons gambling at The Cowboy Bar in Jackson Hole in Wyoming, after flocking from the city for a break

Simpler times: A young cowgirl trout fishing in String Lake in Jackson Hole wearing a  red checked, popular with many on cowboy ranches

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Simpler times: A young cowgirl trout fishing in String Lake in Jackson Hole wearing a red checked, popular with many on cowboy ranches

Patrons drinking cocktails in a bar at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park, near Moran, Wyoming (Picture taken in 1955)

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Patrons drinking cocktails in a bar at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park, near Moran, Wyoming (Picture taken in 1955)

Looking down on Jackson Hole's dude ranch. As the lure of fresh air, horseback riding and fishing pulled in vast numbers, many ranchers gave up their cattle livelihood completely to focus on offering ranch activities

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Looking down on Jackson Hole's dude ranch. As the lure of fresh air, horseback riding and fishing pulled in vast numbers, many ranchers gave up their cattle livelihood completely to focus on offering ranch activities

Better than skyscrapers: The Snake River with the incredible Grand Tetons casting a striking shadow in the background

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Better than skyscrapers: The Snake River with the incredible Grand Tetons casting a striking shadow in the background

Patrons gambling and playing slot machines. Escaping the stresses of early 20th century city life, 'dudes' would journey from the hustle and bustle in search of a Western retreat

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Patrons gambling and playing slot machines. Escaping the stresses of early 20th century city life, 'dudes' would journey from the hustle and bustle in search of a Western retreat

Yee-hah: Two horse riders trot through the ranch on Broadway street in Jackson Hole, with various bars and lounges in the background

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Yee-hah: Two horse riders trot through the ranch on Broadway street in Jackson Hole, with various bars and lounges in the background

Neon signs clearly illuminate the exterior of The Cowboy Bar with patrons relaxing outside 

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Neon signs clearly illuminate the exterior of The Cowboy Bar with patrons relaxing outside

Lack of technology: At the Bear Paw Dude Ranch, guests sit by a fireplace and listen to ranch owner Jack Huyler playing acoustic guitar

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Lack of technology: At the Bear Paw Dude Ranch, guests sit by a fireplace and listen to ranch owner Jack Huyler playing acoustic guitar

By 1940, 25,000 visitors would flock to ranches such as Jackson Hole in Wyoming to witness the spectacular mountains and meadows

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By 1940, 25,000 visitors would flock to ranches such as Jackson Hole in Wyoming to witness the spectacular mountains and meadows

Tranquil surroundings: A moose  drinking in the stream with rolling hills and wooded areas in the background

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Tranquil surroundings: A moose drinking in the stream with rolling hills and wooded areas in the background

The route to Jackson Hole from the east: Cars pictured on Blackrock Creek with the Grand Tetons in the background

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The route to Jackson Hole from the east: Cars pictured on Blackrock Creek with the Grand Tetons in the background

 

 

 

 

 

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