Thursday, 15 September 2011

Undaunted By Odds, Unwearied In Their Constant Challenge......


Hullo ma wee blog,

Interested in history as I am I cannot let today go past without marking what is known as 'Battle Of Britain Day'. This year is the 70th anniversary of the day when the heaviest fighting took place.

In his political career, our famous wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill made many great speeches but two or three in particular are perhaps remembered most. Two of those relate to the war in the skies. Even today these stand as great examples of oratory and are capable of touching the heart. It's especially interesting to note that these two iconic speeches occured within just two months in 1940, indicating the dire situation facing the country at that time. Especially perhaps on a day such as this, it's worthwhile remembering too, that while oratory remains, it is those individuals and their deeds, which are more transient, which stand behind those words and should be remembered most.

Winston Churchill's address to Parliament June 18th 1940.

"What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say; This was their finest hour."

Winston Churchill's address to Parliament; 20th August 1940.

"The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day; but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power. On no part of the Royal Air Force does the weight of the war fall more heavily than on the daylight bombers, who will play an invaluable part in the case of invasion and whose unflinching zeal it has been necessary in the meanwhile on numerous occasions to restrain."

6 comments:

coastkid said...

Great post Al,

We can never forget what the few did for our country,

Nicky Parry said...

Great commentary Alistair - and I love that photo!

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

We should never forget.
My Dad was RAF during the war. Doesn't talk much about it, but I know he felt very lucky not to have been picked for Bomber Command. He would have gone if picked, but as he said once, "Sticking my head in an aluminium bucket being shot at by every bastard in Germany waas not my idea of fun, or leading to a very long life."

Adullamite said...

Excellent.

diamond dave said...

The whole free world owes the RAF for what they did over Great Britain in 1940. Had they not prevailed, America would've been in a very tough fight at a major disadvantage against Nazi Germany (and later, Japan) and all of Europe may well be speaking German right now.

Alistair said...

Thanks all.

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