Next week would have marked the 100th birthday of the late Sir Christopher Foxley-Norris, the man whose name is so closely linked with the Memorial Wall that lists the names of all those who took part in the Battle of Britain.
Sir Christopher, who would have celebrated his centenary on Thursday 16 March, was one of the leading supporters of the Trust, and it was he and his wife Lady Foxley-Norris who provided the funds that enabled the black granite wall to be built.
The wall lists the names of all the aircrew who took part in the Battle – including Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher himself, a Hurricane pilot in 1940 and the first President of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust. It was unveiled by His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, the Patron of the Trust, in July 2005.
While the site has developed considerably over the past 12 years, with the new Wing building now a prominent part of the Memorial, the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall remains perhaps its most poignant feature.
Visitors are encourage to sponsor a name on the wall for a minimum donation of £30, money which is used to support the work of the Trust, and chairman Richard Hunting CBE hopes people will either do that or become a Friend of the Few as a mark of respect towards a great man on such a significant anniversary.
“Many of the names on the wall are already sponsored, but there are still lots of opportunities to show your respect to these great men by picking out one name which resonates with you,” said Richard.
“Alternatively, becoming a Friend of the Few is a great way to support the work of the Trust, which exists to cherish and preserve the memory of the men who kept this country safe from invasion in 1940.
“There are lots of advantages to becoming a Friend, including café and shop discounts and free or low-cost admission to our spring talks series, which begins soon – and it provides much needed income for the Trust at the same time.”
As Sir Christopher himself said of ‘the Few’ in 2000: “Nearly 3,000 RAF, Royal Navy and allied aircrew were involved in the Battle of Britain and not all were ‘aces’.
“There were many pilots who were only moderately successful, yet the fact that they were there and played their part, decisively tipped the balance in our favour. We therefore owe everything to them and our gratitude for the final sacrifice made by many of them during the Battle.”