70 years ago today the Battle of Britain began.

It was, says Patrick Bishop, a triumph of national spirit - a time for modest heroes in the air and on the ground'

This morning 70 years ago, on damp hills and headlands overlooking the Channel, watchers from the Royal Observer Corps (OC  Ed) scoured the skies for the first German aircraft of the day. There was no doubt that they would come. In the previous week a tempo of violence had been established with formations of Luftwaffe bombers and fighters attacking Channel convoys and land targets.

On Wednesday July 10, 1940 they arrived in force with the clear intention of luring the British pilots into an attritional battle. Looking back, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, head of Fighter Command, chose this date, "somewhat arbitrarily" as he admitted in his victory despatch, as the starting point for the Battle of Britain...

Taken from The Daily Telegraph, Saturday 10th. July 2010 page#17

'Fighter Boys: saving Britain 1940'  by Patrick Bishop (Harper Perennial)
is available from Telegraph Books for 7.99 plus 1.25 p&p.
Call 0845 871 1515 or visit www.books.telegraph.co.uk

[14jul10 17:45]