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German WWII Pilot’s watch by A. Lange & Söhne. A massive 55mm case, made of special non-magnetic nickel silver alloy, fitted with a wide band which allowed it to be worn over the flight suit. Manual wind movement. Pilots often had to time events based on minutes and seconds, so the hours register is a secondary feature.
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Omega WWII Royal Air Force Mk.VII Pilot’s/Navigator’s Watch c 1940.
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87 Squadron scramble to their RAF Hurricanes, Autumn 1940.
The Battle of Britain (10 July - 31 October 1940) was the first campaign to be fought entirely by air forces.
The Luftwaffe objective was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force, especially Fighter Command, in preparation for Operation Sea Lion - the planned amphibious and airborne invasion of Britain.
British coastal shipping convoys and ports were the initial targets. One month later, the Luftwaffe shifted its attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure; then targeted aircraft factories. Eventually they resorted to a terror bombing strategy.
As the summer progressed RAF fighter command became critically short of trained men. The Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm assisted, but there were simply not enough pilots, not enough ground crew, never enough sleep and too many enemy aircraft.
British aircrew represented 80% of the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain. They were joined by pilots from New Zealand, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Belgium with smaller numbers from France, Ireland and USA.
From 2,926 involved, 1,495 British and Allied airmen gave their lives - 449 fighter pilots, 718 aircrew from Bomber Command, 280 from Coastal Command.
The RAF victory over the Luftwaffe, achieved at a heavy cost and against the odds, stiffened the resolve of those determined to resist what seemed like inevitable Nazi occupation and was a pivotal turning point in the Second World War. Britain was able to rebuild its military forces, establishing itself as an Allied stronghold and a base for the liberation of Western Europe.
"Never in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many to so few” Winston Churchill, August 20 1940
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Supermarine Spitfire Mk I. 1/5th scale. Scratchbuilt by David Glen over 11 years of dedicated craftsmanship.
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Aviator TOMCAT chair in Aluminium and leather http://www.timothyoulton.com
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Raleigh Spitfire Hardcase in Aluminium http://www.timothyoulton.com
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Aluminium Aviator Wing Desk and Devon Spitfire Leather Chair, with die-cast pedestal base and antiqued whisky leather upholstery www.restorationhardware.com
Love the brutal simplicity of this poster for 'Battle of Britain' 1969
In September 1965 producer Harry Saltzman contacted former RAF Bomber Command Group Capatin Hamish Mahaddie to help find the period aircraft required for the epic feature. 109 Spitfires were sourced in the UK, although only 12 could be made flyable.
After filming began, the English weather proved too unreliable and production was moved to Spain and Malta to achieve the clear blue skies of late summer 1940.
A North American B-25 Mitchell bomber was the primary camera platform used for the aerial sequences. Cameras were fixed in the nose, tail and waist gun positions with an additional camera mounted on an arm in the aircraft’s bomb bay and suspended below the aircraft to provide 360 degree shots. The top gun turret was replaced with a clear dome for the aerial director, who would co-ordinate the combatants by radio. The huge B-25 was painted garishly to make it easier for pilots to line up shots and determine its movements and was dubbed the Psychedelic Monster.
A pair of two-seat trainer Spitfires were also used as camera platforms to achieve realistic aerial footage inside the battle scenes.
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Supermarine Spitfire. Designed by RJ Mitchell.
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Flight Lieutenant Eric Stanley Lock, DSO, DFC, Royal Air Force fighter pilot in the cockpit of his Spitfire. The 26 swastika emblems denote his aerial victories.
During the Battle of Britain 188 RAF Allied pilots achieved the distinction of “ace” (five confirmed victories). Lock was the RAF’s most successful, shooting down 21 German aircraft, most of which were Messerschmitt fighters, over the summer of 1940.
Born in Shewsbury, Lock had joined the RAF in 1939 and was posted to no.41 squadron RAF Catterick, North Yorks, before redeployment to RAF Hornchurch, Essex.
On 17 November 1940 his Squadron attacked a formation of 70 Bf 109s that were top cover for a bomber raid on London. After shooting down one Bf 109, and setting another on fire, Lock’s Spitfire was hit by a volley of cannon shells, which severely injured his right arm and both legs. The rounds also knocked the throttle permanently open by severing the control lever, enabling the Spitfire to accelerate swiftly to 400 mph, leaving the Bf 109s in his wake. Badly injured and with little control and no means of slowing the fighter down, Lock couldn’t execute a landing or parachute to safety. He was in a perilous situation. After losing height to 2,000 feet, Lock switched the engine off and searched for a suitable crash site near RAF Martlesham Heath Suffolk, where he glided the stricken Spitfire down.
Lying in the aircraft for two hours, he was found by two patrolling British soldiers who carried him two miles on an improvised stretcher made from their Enfield rifles and Army issue winter coats—made after instruction from Lock. By this point, Lock had lost so much blood that he was unconscious, and so unable to feel the additional pain of being dropped three times, once into a dyke of water.
His final kill was recorded on 14 July 1941. Shortly after this photo was taken, he crashed into the English Channel having been hit by ground fire near Calais, France and was posted as missing in action.
He was never seen again.
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