“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed, by so many, to so few”, so said Winston Churchill, on his visit to the Battle of Britain Bunker on the 16th August 1940 - 75 years ago. In advance of Operations Sealion (the Nazi invasion of the United Kingdom), the Luftwaffe waged a 16-week campaign against the Royal Air Force aimed at destroying Fighter Command. Of the four Fighter Command groups, No.11 Group (controlled from the Battle of Britain Bunker) saw the most action due its location in the South-East of England. Throughout the conflict Fighter Command destroyed 1733 enemy aircraft, of which No.11 Group was responsible for more than two-thirds. The final phase of the Battle of Britain began on 1 September 1940, with the Luftwaffe changing targets for the final time and attacking London. Although the pressure was now off No.11 Group’s airfields, the month of September saw some of the fiercest fighting of the Battle, with Fighter Command struggling to defend the capital.
15 September 1940 was to be the decisive day of the Battle, with Fighter Command shooting down 56 enemy aircraft for the loss of 26 of their own. Two days later Hitler postponed Operation Sealion indefinitely. However, Luftwaffe aircraft continued to attack the UK until the end of October, particularly at night, and thus the Battle of Britain Bunker remained busy throughout this period. Today the room is shown exactly as it was on 15th September 1940, the day on which Winston Churchill visited and witnessed the conduct of the most significant day of the battle of Britain. Not only are the operations rooms reconstucted but there is an extensive display of artefacts from the era. Be aware, there are 76 steps to descend to the bunker. It is not wheelchair accessible. The guided tours, however, bring the Battle of Britain alive.
Location : RAF Uxbridge, UB10 0RN
Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10:00 and 14:00 tours.
Call to arrange tour.
Tickets : Free - £3.00 donation appreciated.
Tel: 01895 238154.