Well-known author and researcher Andy Saunders, who specialises in military aviation history with particular emphasis on the Battle of Britain and the air war over north-west Europe between 1939 and 1945, delivered a fascinating talk at the Battle of Britain Memorial.
Andy regularly contributes to the world’s aviation press on military history topics and has written for national newspapers. A former editor of Britain at War magazine, he was also a programme consultant for the Discovery History series War Digs With Harry Harris and is currently involved in a number of projected television documentaries in a variety of capacities.
Using his vast knowledge and photographic collection, Andy took his audience through a miscellany of material on the subject of Oddities of the Battle of Britain.
He revealed a number of unusual and fascinating stories from the Battle, ranging from the bizarre to the misunderstood or little known while shattering a number of myths and delivering a fascinating insight into aspects of the battle that came as a surprise to most of those present.
Andy related how the Luftwaffe had only 20 Heinkel 113 fighter but used propaganda to imply it had many more. The fact that the aircraft looked very similar to the Hurricane may have accounted for some ‘friendly fire’ incidents on the Hurricane, even though the He113 was .never used as a fighter.
The author also touched on the 1940 ‘Saucepans for Spitfires’ campaign, revealing that while the aluminium from saucepans was not the correct type for manufacturing Spitfires it had nonetheless engaged and motivated the British public in support of the war effort.
In a wide-ranging talk Andy mentioned some odd coincidences, such as the pilot who lost an eye in an air battle the day before what was subsequently defined as the start of the Battle and hence did not qualify to be one of the Few. He could not fly again but was subsequently killed when an aircraft from the Battle crashed in the field where he was working.
After his talk Andy spent time chatting to members of the audience and signing some of his books for them.
The final talk in the spring series will be on Sunday 24 April, when Nick Oram will talk about his new. book, Spitfire Pilots - Legends of the Air.
Nick will share some of the incredible true stories from his second book, focusing on the gallant wartime pilots using their own extraordinary first-hand accounts and archive interview clips.
As with all our Sunday afternoon talks, Nick's presentation starts at 2.30pm and will last for approximately one hour.
Friend of the Few (Hurricane) Free Entry
Friend of the Few (Spitfire) £5
Guest of Friend of the Few (max one per friend) £6
Non-members of Friends of the Few £12.
For bookings phone 01303 249292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org