Battle of Britain
In the summer and autumn of 1940, during the infamous Battle of Britain, both the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm defended the nation from large-scale attacks by the Luftwaffe. Fought over the skies of southern England, Germany’s primary objective was to overwhelm and eradicate the RAF’s Fighter Command before launching an invasion. Considered to be one of the first campaigns fought entirely by aircraft, the brutal, unforgiving battle continued for more than three months. Germany, however, had underestimated the strength of Fighter Command, and were eventually forced to abandon their plans. While Britain’s success had been achieved at a heavy cost, with civilian casualties from July to December totaling more than 55,000, it proved to be a considerable morale boost for the country and demonstrated that the Luftwaffe was not invincible.
Spitfire pilot John Preece and FlyPast contributor Peter Arnold share more memories from behind the scenes on the Battle of Britain.
John Preece recalls the point in filming for the Battle of Britain when the Spanish pilots turned up…
John Preece still has an incredible keepsake from a summer of filming with Michael Caine & Co in 1968
For John Preece and his fellow Battle of Britain film pilots, mixing with stars like Caine and Susannah York on set was a fascinating experience…
John Preece got more than he bargained for when he was chosen to be a pilot in the most iconic historic aviation film ever made
Ex-RAF pilot Hamish Mahaddie was the man whose job it was to get the aeroplanes together for The Battle of Britain. One of the film’s pilots, John Preece, and Spitfire historian Peter Arnold discuss their memories of him