Biggin Hill Memorial Museum 300119 CREDIT Forces News
UK

Biggin Hill Memorial Museum Announces Plans To Mark 80th Anniversary Of Battle Of Britain

The museum will be dropping 80,000 poppy petals from a Spitfire as part of the commemorations.

Biggin Hill Memorial Museum 300119 CREDIT Forces News

The Biggin Hill Memorial Museum has announced plans to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. 

The museum will stage 80 events later this year, including the dropping of 80,000 poppy petals from a Spitfire over Saint George's Chapel of Remembrance on Remembrance Sunday. 

"We're also launching a new exhibition, that's called Battle of Britain 80, so it's 80 objects, 80 days, 80 memories," said the museum's director, Katie Edwards.

"That will really be to tell the story of the Battle of Britain from different perspectives."

Biggin Hill was described as the UK's "strongest link" by Sir Winston Churchill during the three-and-a-half-month battle in 1940.

It was home to both Spitfire and Hurricane pilots, who shot down 1,400 enemy aircraft.

Geoff Greensmith is someone who arguably knows better than anyone the importance of Biggin Hill.

As a boy during World War Two, his parents ran the Nightingale Cafe on the Biggin Hill Army Camp.

Two RAF Hawker Hurricane MK1 fighters from RAF 79 Squadron taking off from RAF Hawkinge 20071940 CREDIT PA
Two Hawker Hurricanes from 79 Squadron take off from RAF Hawkinge in Kent during the Battle of Britain (Picture: PA).

He was the only child living on the airfield and often got to meet his heroes - famous fighter pilots.

"A Canadian pilot came in at the height of Battle of Britain on his own, which was unusual," he said.

"We had a big round table in front of the counter and he sat there with his head in his hands and looking fed up and he said to my father, 'Your shop's god-damn unlucky, your customers are dying like flies.'

"He held up six fingers - six of his mates had gone." 

The museum is also marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe) with a 1940s-style street party on 2 May.

Alex Borrie was a member of the SAS during World War Two - working behind enemy lines to assist the resistance in France, the Netherlands and Germany.

"The idea was that you shot up convoys, organised the resistance, organised parachute drops, " he told Forces News.

"It was okay - if you survived that was - over half didn't."

Alex Borrie WWII veteran 210220 CREDIT BFBS
World War Two SAS veteran, Alex Borrie.

However, Mr Borrie's time during the war wasn't without its near misses.

"I ran over a mine...blew the Jeep to pieces - fella sitting to the side of me was killed, two of us were injured," he said.

"One leg was shorter than the other but they stretched it back out on a rack at Manchester hospital, like an old torture thing."

The events to mark the Battle of Britain will be taking place between May and November.

 

Tags