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our Blade of Honour project


While the Trust’s focus is on the bravery and sacrifice of the Few, the airmen who flew against the Luftwaffe in 1940 to prevent an invasion of this country, it recognises that they did not achieve that success on their own.

Many thousands of people worked behind the scenes to keep the Few in the air, repair the runways, keep communications flowing, look out for incoming enemy aircraft and fill many other support roles.

That’s why the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust has launched an ambitious project to commemorate ‘the Many’, those who supported the men of the Royal Air Force and allied countries as they defeated the Luftwaffe in the summer and early autumn of 1940.

We are inviting members of the public to fund commemorative tiles that will be inscribed with the names of those who served in a variety of roles and will be laid at the Memorial to mark their contribution towards the success of ‘the Few’ and the eventual defeat of the Nazis.

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, or one month either side of it. They may have served as Air Raid Wardens, ground crew, coastguards or firemen, for instance, or with the National Pigeon Service, the Royal Observer Corps or the GPO.

“From those who served as ground crew 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 inviting people to nominate the person they think should be commemorated – probably, but not necessarily, a relative - and produce evidence that they played a part in this historic victory. They can be military or civilian, as long as they contributed.”

The tiles will be laid along the edge of one of the existing white propeller blades that surround the National Memorial to the Few here at Capel-le-Ferne and will cost £495 each. The grey, non-slip, granite tiles are 150mm x 350mm and will have space for up to 60 inscribed letters, with additional letters available at an extra cost.

Critically, any surplus funds from the project will be used to support the charity, which receives no public funding and relies on supporters to continue its work.

The Trust is keen to maintain the pristine appearance of this much-loved Memorial, and so work will only begin when enough nominations – 270 - have been made to allow tiles to be laid alongside one complete ‘blade’.

“At this stage we are asking people to submit an expression of interest,” said Richard. “We won’t start the project until we can 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 follow the link to our expression of interest form.”

There is a £5 charge for registering an expression of interest which will be refundable if the nomination is ineligible or the project does not go ahead.

Click here to link to the expression of interest form

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