The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust is launching a ‘Blade of Honour’ project
An ambitious tribute to ‘the Many’, those whose vital support role in 1940 helped the men of Fighter Command to victory in the Battle of Britain, is being launched by the Kent trust that honours the memory of the Few.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, which cares for the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne, just outside Folkestone, is planning to lay memorial tiles along the edges of the three propeller blades that radiate out from the Memorial in memory of those who served. The Trust’s ‘Blade of Honour’ project will invite members of the public to fund a tile in memory of anyone who played a part in the victory, from groundcrew to members of the Royal Observer Corps or air raid wardens.
“From those who served as groundcrew to those whose contributions were less obvious but equally valuable, such as in runway maintenance or repairing telephone lines, we are looking to mark the commitment of the thousands of people who contributed to the success of ‘the Few’ in 1940,” said Trust Chairman Richard Hunting CBE.
“We don’t have a set list of organisations or professions that we feel qualify, but are instead inviting people to nominate the person they think should be commemorated – probably, but not necessarily, a relative – along with evidence that they played a part in this historic victory. They can be military or civilian, as long as they contributed.”
The tiles will cost a total of £495 each (inc VAT) and will have space for up to 60 inscribed letters, with additional letters available at an extra cost. Those who are nominated need to have played an active support role in the Battle of Britain, which ran from 10 July to 31 October 1940, or one month either side of it. They may have served as coastguards or firemen, for instance, or with the National Pigeon Service, the NAAFI or the GPO.
Critically, any surplus funds from the project, which will be formally launched on Battle of Britain Day, 15 September, will be used to support the charity, which receives no public funding and relies on supporters to continue its work.
“At this stage we are asking people to submit an expression of interest,” said Richard. “We won’t start the project until we have the 270 names we need to finish a complete blade, but given the many thousands of people who contributed to victory in 1940 and the esteem in which they are held, we are confident that we will soon reach our first target.
“If you have always wanted to remember the sacrifice or bravery of a grandparent or great-grandparent who did not qualify for the Battle of Britain Clasp but played a part in supporting those who did, please see www.battleofbritainmemorial.org/blade for more information and our expression of interest form.” With thanks to Malcolm Triggs