Names of the ‘Few’

Names of the ‘Few’

by Jeremy A. Crang, School of History and Classics, University of Edinburgh


Of all the British combatants of the Second World War, the ‘few’ have attained a unique and legendary place in the historiography of the war. These were the dashing fighter aircrew of the RAF who flew against the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain and saved their country from the threat of invasion in 1940. In August 1940, whilst the battle raged overhead, Churchill paid them a special tribute when he told the House of Commons that ‘never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’ (Note 1). Such is their fame that the identity of every airman who took part in the battle is known and is a matter of public record. A full list of nearly 3000 flyers who compose the ‘few’ is available on the official RAF website and their names have recently been inscribed on public monuments dedicated to their memory (Note 2). No other group of British combatants has been individually commemorated in this way and membership of the ‘few’ confers upon the veterans a heroic status that in some cases borders on adulation (Note 3). But how were these men singled out as belonging to this illustrious group? This article traces the process by which the ‘few’ came to be identified.

The first official attempt to delineate the epic air battle that had taken place over southern England in the summer of 1940 was encapsulated in a short Air Ministry pamphlet, Battle of Britain, published in March 1941. Written by Hilary St George Saunders of the Ministry’s public relations department, and prefaced by Churchill’s eulogy to the ‘few’, it divided the battle into four phases and defined it as beginning on 8 August and ending on 31 October (Note 4). This early narrative, however, was modified by Sir Hugh Dowding’s dispatch on the air fighting which was completed in August 1941 and subsequently published in the London Gazette in September 1946. The former commander-in-chief of Fighter Command pushed the starting date for the battle back to earlier in the summer. He acknowledged that ‘there are grounds for choosing the date of 8th August, on which was made the first attack in force against laid objectives in this country, as the beginning of the Battle’. But he argued that the attacks that had been made by the Luftwaffe on convoys in the Channel in July constituted the real start of the German air offensive since they were intended primarily to lure out the RAF to fight, rather than simply destroy shipping, and thus should properly be included in the battle. He concluded that ‘I have therefore, somewhat arbitrarily, chosen the events of the 10th July as the opening of the Battle. Although many attacks had previously been made on convoys, and even on land objectives such as Portland, the 10th July saw the employment by the Germans of the first really big formation (70 aircraft) intended primarily to bring our Fighter Defence to battle on a large scale’ (Note 5).

Thus the official dates of the battle became 10 July – 31 October 1940.

Although the beginning and end of the battle were now settled there was, however, no official definition of what qualified fighter aircrew to have taken part in the battle, and thus be entitled to membership of the ‘few’, until the award of the Battle of Britain clasp to the 1939-45 Star. In the spring of 1944 a debate took place in parliament on war decorations and medals. During the course of the discussion, Sir Ronald Ross, the Unionist MP for Londonderry, argued that while those who had won a great victory in North Africa had been granted a special distinction, those who had spearheaded another important victory, one of the most significant turning points of the war, had never received any award as a group: the fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain. These men, he observed, had received from the prime minister the greatest tribute ever paid to a body of fighting men and this gratitude should be translated into some award that would make them visible on the streets. He thus proposed that they should be entitled to wear some emblem upon their 1939-1943 Star: ‘I would urge as strongly as possible that these survivors of the gallant band, which saved the country and won the first signal victory over Germany, should be entitled to one little piece of metal to wear upon the ribbon which would show that there was a man who was a fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain.’ (Note 6)

This suggestion was supported by other MPs and Ross wrote to the Secretary of State for Air, Sir Archibald Sinclair, to follow the matter up (Note 7). Sinclair replied that the special claims of the ‘few’ would have to be considered alongside others, but he concurred that something should be done to reward them: ‘I need hardly say that I cordially agree with you that the Battle of Britain ought to be especially commemorated by the award of a star or clasp and I have every hope that something of the kind will be done eventually’ (Note 8).

The Air Ministry subsequently decided to press the case with the Committee on the Grant of Honours Decorations and Medals and in May 1945 it was announced that a clasp to the 1939-45 Star (which had superseded the 1939-43 Star) would be instituted for aircrew of fighter aircraft engaged in the Battle of Britain. The award was to be denoted by a gilt rose emblem when the ribbon alone was worn (Note 9). For some reason the dates of the battle were stated as 1 July to 31 October 1940 in the relevant command paper. But 10 July was substituted for 1 July in a further paper issued in June 1946 (Note 10).

It was, however, still to be determined exactly which fighter aircrew were to be eligible for the clasp. In July 1945 the Air Ministry published an order on the matter: Issues of silver-gilt rose emblems denoting a clasp to the 1939-45 Star may be made to air crew personnel who flew in fighter aircraft engaged in the Battle of Britain between 10th July 1940 and 31st October 1940. Issues are to be confined to those who operated with the undermentioned squadrons:

Nos.l, 17, 19,23,25,29,32,41,43,46,53,54,56,59,64,65,66,72,73,74,79,85, 87,92,111, 141, 145,151,152,213,219,222,229,234,235,236,238,242,249,253, 257, 264, 266, 302, 303, 310, 312, 401, (No. 1 RCAF Squadron), 501, 504, 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 607, 609, 610, 611, 615 and 616 …

CO’s are not to admit claims for this highly-prized emblem which are open to any possible doubt. The clasp is not available for personnel who flew in aircraft other than fighters, notwithstanding that they may have been engaged with the enemy in the air during the qualifying period (Note 11).

In 1946 a new Air Ministry Order was issued. This added 248 Squadron and the Fighter Interception Unit to the list of qualifiers, but omitted 53 and 59 squadrons (Note 12). It seems likely that the reason for this omission was that these squadrons were transferred from Fighter Command to Coastal Command between 1 and 10 July and were not deemed to qualify for the clasp (Note 13). The unfortunate airmen were thus demoted from the ‘Few’.

The twentieth anniversary of the battle brought a further revision. In 1947 a Battle of Britain memorial window had been unveiled in Westminster Abbey. This stained and painted glass window, which was designed by Hugh Easton, incorporated the badges of the fighter squadrons that had taken part in the battle (Note 14). It transpired that some squadrons featured in the window had been excluded from the 1946 Air Ministry Order, whilst other squadrons listed in the Air Ministry Order had been left out of the window. In August 1960 the Air Member for Personnel circulated a minute to his senior colleagues in the Air Ministry on the subject:

I have had a thorough investigation carried out into the omission of certain squadrons and units which took part in the Battle of Britain from the AMO issued in 1946 and the Memorial Window in Westminster Abbey.

I am now satisfied that:

(a) Nos. 3,232,245,247 and 263 Squadrons included in the Abbey window but omitted from the AMO;
(b) Nos. 235,236 and 248 Squadrons and the Fighter Interception Unit included in the AMO but omitted from the Abbey Window, and
(c) Nos. 421 and 422 Flights omitted from both the window and the AMO.

all took part in the Battle of Britain (Note 15).

As a result of this, he decided that modifications to the entitlement to the clasp were necessary. In November 1960 another Air Ministry Order was thus circulated which incorporated the newly qualified squadrons and flights into the existing list, and stated that aircrew who had flown’ at least one operational sortie’ in fighter aircraft in these units during the qualifying period were entitled to submit a claim (Note 16). In 1961 a further adjustment was made when two squadrons from the Fleet Air Arm, 804 and 808, were added to the roll of those which qualified for the clasp (Note 17).

In all, 71 fighter squadrons, units and flights were now deemed to have taken part in the Battle of Britain, and their aircrew thus comprised the ‘Few’.

The process of systematically naming the ‘Few’ was initiated by Captain Bruce Ingram, the proprietor of The Illustrated London News, in the summer of 1942. In July Ingram wrote to Archibald Sinclair and suggested that the Battle of Britain was of such importance to the history of the country that it stood comparison with such epic victories as the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Trafalgar. He thought it appropriate that a permanent record of the names of those who had played ‘an active part’ in the battle should be preserved for the nation. To this end, he offered to arrange for a list of participants to be transcribed in gold leaf onto a scroll by a leading calligraphist. This scroll would then be presented to Westminster Abbey, or some other appropriate body, which would preserve it for posterity. He asked if Sinclair would use his good offices to help compile a record of those involved(Note 18).

The Air Ministry welcomed this proposal, but was unclear which personnel were to be listed on the scroll. The intention might be to feature only those who had flown with Fighter Command, but staff officers and ground crew could also be included. Indeed, virtually the whole of the RAF had been connected in one way or another with the battle and it was thought that to highlight one group might be undesirable. It was concluded that it would be more appropriate if a roll of honour was prepared which contained the names of members of Fighter Command units who had lost their lives in the battle (Note 19).

Ingram was unhappy about limiting the names on the scroll to those killed in the battle as it did not fulfill his original idea. He wished the scroll to contain:

…. the names of the pilots of the fighter planes that went into the air to defend Britain, as it is obvious that one who came through the ordeal was just as great a hero as one who was killed in the action.

He asked that Sinclair reconsider the matter (Note 20).

For the Air Ministry, however, there were practical problems involved in drawing up a comprehensive list of all the fighter aircrew who took part in the battle. It was not just a simple matter of looking up the names in the records. It would have to be ascertained which pilots from distant squadrons had been detached to participate in the battle and which pilots had actually taken part in the fighting. Some, for example, might have been prevented from flying by sickness; others found wanting. It was thought that the difficulties of compiling such a list would be insuperable in wartime. In view of these concerns, Sinclair recommended to Ingram that the best course of action would be to limit the scroll to those fighter pilots and air gunners in fighter squadrons who were killed in the battle. This, it was suggested, would be the most ‘practicable’, ‘suitable’ and ‘uncontroversial’ tribute to the heroic efforts of the men who had won the victory (Note 21).

Ingram was disappointed once more because his intention had been to create’ a complete historical record of all the pilots who had fought in the Battle of Britain’. This would be available to historians and would obviate the need to trace at a later stage all those who took part; a task which would become increasingly difficult over time. However, he did not wish to hold up the prosecution of the war by insisting on his preferred scheme. He accepted the Air Ministry’s decision, but hoped that after the war his original idea could be brought to fruition (Note 22).

The Air Ministry duly compiled a list of fighter aircrew killed during the battle (Note 23). This was subsequently incorporated into Ingram’s roll of honour which was presented to Westminster Abbey to accompany the unveiling of the Battle of Britain memorial in 1947. Inscribed by Daisy Alcock, it was bound in blue calf Morocco skin and emblazoned in gold with the red and white roses of England surrounded by the emblems of the different countries of the United Kingdom (i.e. England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland) (Note 24). Although in the end it was decided to include not just the ‘few’ but all the RAF flyers killed during the period of the battle, including bomber crews, the roll incorporated the names of 449 members of Fighter Command who had lost their lives in operational flights against the enemy between 10 July and 31 October 1940 (Note 25).

Although there was now an official list of the names of the ‘few’ who had died during the battle, there was still no complete record of the names of all those who had taken part. This was to be provided by Flight Lieutenant John Holloway. In 1940 Holloway had been a Sergeant wireless fitter with 615 Squadron and had come greatly to admire the spirit and courage of the pilots who fought in the battle. In 1955 he was stationed at RAF Kenley when the film ‘Reach for the Sky’ was being filmed there and he took the opportunity to collect some of the autographs of the ‘Few’. Over the following months this became an obsession and Holloway had soon collected over a hundred signatures. A senior officer at Kenley then suggested to him that a collection of all the signatures of this celebrated group would become a most valuable museum piece. Holloway decided to take up the challenge.

The problem was that it was difficult to know which autographs to collect when no complete list of the ‘Few’ had ever been compiled. Holloway contacted Group Captain Tom Gleave, a historian in the Cabinet Office and a former Battle of Britain pilot, to seek his advice on the matter. Gleave introduced him to Mr Nerney, the Head of the Air Historical Branch, whose office kept many of the official records. Nerney’s staff were sceptical about Holloway’s chances of drawing up a comprehensive list, but they gave him their ready assistance. For four years Holloway toiled in the archives in his spare time, painstakingly going through the flight records of the qualifying squadrons and extracting the names of the aircrew qualified for the clasp. The task was made more difficult by the fact that no initials were given in the records (only rank and surname), some aircrew had served in several different squadrons during the battle, ranks had changed frequently, and many surnames were quite common. For example, there were at least thirty-two Smiths, eighteen Browns, fourteen Johnsons, ten Bakers, eleven Scotts, and ten Joneses. After an exhaustive process of cross-checking, and with the assistance of the Airmen and Officers’ Records Establishments which was able to provide valuable information about airmen’s initials and their squadrons, Holloway completed his task. In 1961 his list was published: the first complete record of the names of the ‘Few’ (Note 26). It was produced as an appendix to Derek Wood and Derek Dempster’s book on the Battle of Britain, The Narrow Margin. The list contained the initials, surname, nationality and squadron(s) of 2937 fighter aircrew who were deemed to have taken part in the battle. For the first time the public now knew the identities of this elite group (Note 27).

In the meantime, Holloway continued with his autograph collecting. He believed that approximately 1600 of the ‘few’ were still living and he wrote to all those he could trace to obtain their signatures. He also attended Battle of Britain reunions and made many personal visits to aircrew. On one occasion he travelled to Uxbridge to request the signature of a pilot who lay on his death-bed in a RAF hospital. On another he arrived in Preston to find his pilot breaking the sound barrier in a prototype fighter. Volunteers were recruited in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States to assist him in collecting the signatures of those living abroad.

Holloway believed that his task would not be complete without some attempt to obtain the autographs of those who had died. He thus wrote to next of kin inviting them to send a signature of their loved ones. In response he received many additions to his collection, poignantly harvested from private letters, school books, driving licences, passports, blood donors’ certificates, prayer books, and even a menu from a German prisoner-of-war camp. This inevitably opened up old wounds. One mother, whose boy had been killed in the battle aged twenty, included a grief-stricken tribute to her son: ‘He was the loveliest and most precious gift that God could bestow on any mortal here on earth, and I, his mother, shall mourn him all the rest of my days.’ Despite the heartache most relatives were proud that their sons and husbands had not been forgotten and that their names would appear alongside the living.

By 1969 Holloway had collected some 2200 signatures-including those of Winston Churchill, R.J. Mitchell (inventor of the Spitfire) and Sir Sidney Camm (inventor of the Hurricane) – and he believed that the chances of obtaining more were now remote. He thus decided to hand over his collection to the Imperial War Museum as a tribute to the ‘few’. The signatures were placed together in a leather bound case on which was engraved in gold the words ‘The Battle of Britain’ and ‘The Few’. Laid across the case and secured into the cover binding was the Battle of Britain tie. Designed by T. Herbert-Jones of Gieves of Bond Street, it was to be worn exclusively by the ‘few’ and only issued if the claimant’s name appeared on Holloway’s list. The collection was handed over to Dr Noble Frankland, the director of the museum, on 21 October (Note 28).

While Holloway was busy compiling a list of aircrew, the ‘few’ got together to form their own veterans’ organisation: the Battle of Britain Fighter Association (BBFA). The BBFA was formally constituted in 1958 with Lord Dowding as life president and Tom Gleave as secretary. The purpose of the association was to commemorate the battle and celebrate the comradeship of those who had fought in it. To this end an annual reunion was held at Bentley Priory on Battle of Britain Day. As a result of Holloway’s research, membership of the BBFA grew by leaps and bounds. To show its gratitude Dowding presented him with a silver spitfire on an ebony stand. It became his most treasured possession.(Note 29).

In the run-up to the fiftieth anniversary of the battle a new study of the ‘Few’ appeared which took the process of identification a stage further. This was Kenneth Wynn’s Men of the Battle of Britain which was published in 1989 with the full cooperation of the BBFA. Wynn, a Londoner who had witnessed the Battle of Britain as a schoolboy, built on Holloway’s list to produce a magnificent who’s who of the ‘Few’. The product of twelve years of research, much of which consisted of lengthy correspondence with the veterans and their families, the volume was composed of short biographical sketches of 2927 airmen who the author concluded had participated in the battle: ten fewer than Holloway’s estimate. These sketches included a man’s full name, service number, highest rank attained during the battle, aircrew category (such as pilot or air gunner), nationality, and squadron(s). This was accompanied, in many cases, by further information relating to an airman’s place of origin, education, service record, claims of enemy planes shot down, decorations, circumstances of death where appropriate, and post-war career. A photograph of the subject was also included alongside 850 entries. We were now able to look into the faces of the ‘Few’ (Note 30).

After Wynn’s book was published he received many letters from relatives and other interested parties which provided new biographical information. He also contacted again those aircrew whose entries were comparatively brief in order to obtain more personal details. As a result, he decided that a supplementary volume should be produced. Published in 1992 this included updated information on 916 airmen and incorporated 568 new photographs (Note 31).

To mark the sixtieth anniversary of the battle Wynn produced a revised and consolidated edition. This volume, which appeared in 1999, incorporated the fruits of seven years of further research and included amended biographical entries for the majority of aircrew as well as more than 200 new photographs. As a result of investigations in the National Archives in London, some airmen were omitted from this edition who had featured in previous volumes, whilst new names were added. In all 2917 aircrew were listed as members of the ‘few’ in this work-a slight reduction on his previous figure-and more than half of the entries were accompanied by a likeness of the man concerned. This is now the most comprehensive published biographical directory of the Battle of Britain aircrew (Note 32).

In recent months the names of the ‘Few’ have been inscribed on public monuments erected in their memory. In 1996 a Battle of Britain Historical Society (BBHS) was founded by Bill Bond, the son of a RAF warrant officer, whose mission was to perpetuate public interest in the battle. To this end Bond launched a campaign to build a monument in London to the airmen who had done so much to defend the capital during the summer of 1940. A fund raising committee was set up under the chairmanship of Lord Tebbit, Westminster Council agreed to provide a suitable site on the Victoria Embankment between the RAF memorial and Westminster Bridge, and Paul Day was commissioned to design the monument. The chief executive officer of the BBHS, Edward McManus, took responsibility for drawing up a list of all the flyers who had participated in the battle for incorporation on the monument. Drawing on the assiduous research of Holloway and Wynn, he conducted a further trawl of the contemporary records and secondary sources to try and produce a definitive list of the ‘Few’. After consulting with the historian of the BBFA, Wing Commander John Young, and giving the benefit of the doubt to a number of claimants whose qualifying status could not be authoritatively determined, he concluded that 2936 aircrew were entitled to membership of this legendary band: a figure very close to Holloway’s original figure. In September 2005 the monument was unveiled and the names, ranks and squadrons of these airmen are listed on bronze plaques wrapped around the structure (Note 33).

The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust (BBMT) has also inscribed the names of the ‘few’ on a memorial wall at Capel le Ferne in Kent. In 1993 a Battle of Britain memorial was inaugurated close to this village at a cliff-top site overlooking the Channel: the scene of some of the most intense fighting. Designed by Harry Gray, it was the brainchild of Wing Commander Geoffrey Page, who fought in the battle and was badly burned. It was Page’s intention that the names of those who had participated in the battle would be incorporated on the memorial, but funds were not available at the time to complete this task. As a result of a generous donation from Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Foxley-Norris, the chairman of the BBFA, the BBMT, which maintains the memorial site, was subsequently able to commission the construction of a memorial wall on which the aircrew would be featured. The list of names used for this purpose was that drawn up by the BBHS for inclusion on the London monument. However, the BBMT’S historical adviser, Geoff Simpson, gave the benefit of the doubt to a further three combatants whose names had been omitted from the BBHS’s roll. In July 2005 the memorial wall was unveiled and the names of 2939 aircrew are recorded on its panels. It is thought that about 200 of them are still alive (Note 34).

What emerges from this study is the somewhat arbitrary and haphazard nature of the process by which fighter aircrew became entitled to membership of the ‘few’. If Dowding had chosen different dates to delineate the Battle of Britain, it is likely that the qualifying squadrons and aircrew would be different too. Furthermore, it took some fifteen years before the RAF authorities were finally able to settle on which fighter aircrew qualified for the Battle of Britain clasp-and this seemed to owe as much to the hand of the Battle of Britain memorial window’s designer as to the officials in Whitehall. Even now the exact number of aircrew who took part in the battle is a matter of contention and is often dependent on the survival of tattered log books and other fragmented documentary evidence proving-not always conclusively-that the claimant flew at least one operational sortie in a recognised squadron during the qualifying period. What is also apparent is that the impetus to identify the ‘Few’ came not from the Air Ministry, or any other official body, but from the private initiative and voluntary action of public-spirited individuals who wished to commemorate the gallant vanguard of Britain’s ‘finest hour’. Without the efforts of such figures as Ross, Ingram, Holloway and Wynn it seems doubtful that the ‘Few’ would have been individually identified in the way that they have been. The names of some of the ‘higher profile’ pilots – Douglas Bader, Richard Hillary, Peter Townsend – would no doubt have remained in the public consciousness. But the identities of the unsung heroes of Fighter Command in the summer of 1940 – the likes of Wallace Cunningham, Walter Lawson and George Unwin – would probably have been lost in the mists of time. Sometimes the most conscientious custodians of a nation’s history turn out to be the private ‘amateurs’ rather than the public ‘professionals’.


I am grateful to my colleague, Dr Paul Addison, for his comments on this article in draft form.


1. Robert Rhodes James, ed., Churchill Speaks: Winston S. Churchill in Peace and War: Collected Speeches 1897-1963 (Leicester: Windward, 1980), 727. Although David Reynolds points out that Churchill’s tribute to the ‘few’ occurred in a speech in which he lauded both bomber and fighter aircrew, and thus could be taken to apply to all Britain’s airmen, there seems little doubt that the prime minister was referring to the fighter pilots in his famous sentence. In any event the Air Ministry pamphlet of 1941 about the Battle of Britain firmly linked the ‘few’ to Fighter Command and Churchill confirmed this in his memoirs. See David Reynolds, In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War (London: Allen Lane, 2004), 186-7; Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War, vol. 2, Their Finest Hour (London: Cassell, 1949), 300.
2. http:/ / (consulted 7 April 2005); Alleyne,’ A Fitting Tribute to the Heroism of the Few’, Daily Mail, 11 March 2000, 2, cited in Scramble – Official Newsletter of the Battle of Britain Historical Society 45 (2000), 5.

3. S. Bungay, ‘The Battle of Britain: an Anthem for Doomed Youth’, in Everyone’s War: the Journal of the Second World War Experience Centre 10 (Autumn/Winter 2004), 6; P. Bishop, Fighter Boys: Saving Britain 1940 (London: HarperCollins, 2003), ix-x.

4. Air Ministry, The Battle of Britain August-October 1940 (London, 1941).

5. Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, The Battle of Britain, Supplement to the London Gazette, 11 September 1946, 4544.

6. House of Commons Debates, 5th series, vol. 398, 1943-44, 896-8.

7. APS to S of S to S.lO (a), 5 April 1944, The National Archives: Public Record Office, Air Ministry papers [hereafter TNA: PRO AIR] 2/6723.

8. Letter from Archibald Sinclair to Major Sir Ronald Ross, 2 April 1944, TNA: PRO AIR 2/6723.

9. Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals in Time of War [hereafter CGHDM] 1939-1944, suggested ‘Battle of Britain’ clasp to the 1939-43 Star, Air Ministry memorandum submitted by Sir Arthur Street and Air Vice-Marshal Harries, 11 July 1944, TNA: PRO AIR 2/6723; CGHDM, draft report, ‘Battle of Britain’ clasp to the 1939-43 Star, 24 July 1944, TNA: PRO AIR 2/ 6723; CGHDM, Campaign Stars and the Defence Medal, cmd. 6633, May 1945,4.

10. CGHDM, The War Medal, 1939-45, the Indian Service Medal, 1939-45, Changes in the Time Qualifications for the Campaign Stars and the Defence Medal, Wearing of Emblems Denoting Mentions in Despatches, King’s Commendations for Brave Conduct and King’s Commendations for Valuable Service in the Air, cmd. 6833, June 1946, 9.

11. Air Ministry Order [hereafter AMO] A.741/1945, 23 July 1945, 5, TNA: PRO AIR 72/29.

12. AMO A.544/1946, 24 June 1946, 7, TNA: PRO AIR 72/30.

13. and http:/ /www.rafcommands. /59F.html (consulted 11 June 2005); Jock Manson, United in Effort: The Story of No 53 Squadron Royal Air Force 1916-1976 (Tunbridge Wells: Air Britain, 1997), 34.10.

14. Programme for the unveiling of the Battle of Britain Memorial, Westminster Abbey, 10 July 1947, 2, Westminster Abbey Muniments [hereafter WAM].

15. AMP to SofS, USofS, CAS, AMSO, PUS, YCAS, DCAS, 29 August 1960, TNA: PRO AIR 8/2144.

16. AMO N.850/1960, 9 November 1960, 9, TNA: PRO AIR 72/79.

17. See appendix 3 to Derek Wood and Derek Dempster, The Narrow Margin: The Battle of Britain and the Rise of Air Power 1930-1940 (London: Hutchinson, 1961; London: Arrow, 967), 474.

18. Bruce S. Ingram to Sir Archibald Sinclair, 9 July 1942, TNA: PRO AIR 2/6557

19. Extract from the conclusions of the Air Council meeting on 19 August 1942, TNA: PRO AIR 2/6557; Archibald Sinclair to Capt. Bruce Ingram, 24 August 1942, TNA: PRO AIR 20/4200.

20. Bruce S. Ingram to Sir Archibald Sinclair, 1 September 1942, TNA: PRO AIR 20/4200.

21. Draft letter from B. E. Sutton to Capt. Bruce Ingram [nd], TNA: PRO AIR 2/6557; Archibald Sinclair to Capt. Bruce Ingram, 17 September 1942, TNA: PRO AIR 2/6557.

22. Bruce S. Ingram to Sir Archibald Sinclair, 22 September 1942, TNA: PRO AIR 2/6557.

23. B. E. Sutton to Air Chief Marshal Sir William Sholto Douglas, 9 September 1942, TNA: PRO AIR 16/672; B. E. Sutton to Air Chief Marshal Sir William Sholto Douglas, 27 November 1942, TNA: PRO AIR 16/672; B. E. Sutton to Air Marshal Trafford L. Leigh-Mallory, 10 December 1942, TNA: PRO AIR 16/672; B. E. Sutton to Air Marshal Trafford L. Leigh-Mallory, 13 January 1943, TNA: PRO AIR 16/672.

24. Scramble – Official Newsletter of the Battle of Britain Historical Society 82 (2003), 12.

25. Papers of Sir Charles Peers, box V, folder xxiv, minutes of the second meeting of the Battle of Britain Memorial Committee, 21 February 1944, WAM; Service papers collection, Battle of Britain memorial, Westminster Abbey, unveiled by His Majesty King George VI on 10 July 1947, WAM; draft letter concerning preparation of the roll of honour [nd], TNA: PRO AIR 2/14071; Winston G. Ramsey, ‘Introduction’, in Winston G. Ramsey, ed., The Battle of Britain: Then and Now (London: Battle of Britain Prints International, 1980) [hereafter Ramsey, ‘Introduction’], 253-4.

26. My tribute to the ‘Few’ by John Holloway, Ministry of Defence press release, 20 October 1969, box 316, BBC press cuttings, Edinburgh University Library [hereafter EUL BBC]; Ramsey, ‘Introduction’, 254-6.

27. Wood and Dempster, Narrow Margin, appendix 19,496-550.

28. Holloway tribute, box 316, EUL BBC; Ramsey, ‘Introduction’, 256-9.

29. Adrian Gregory, ‘The Commemoration of the Battle of Britain’, in Paul Addison and Jeremy A. Crang, eds, The Burning Blue: a New History of the Battle of Britain (London: Pimlico, 2000), 223-4; Holloway tribute, box 316, EUL BBC.

30. Kenneth G. Wynn, Men of the Battle of Britain: a Who was Who of the Pilots and Aircrew, British, Commonwealth and Allied, who Flew with the Royal Air Force Fighter Command July 10 to October 31 1940 (Norwich: Gliddon Books, 1989).

31. Kenneth G. Wynn, Men of the Battle of Britain: Supplementary Volume: a Who was Who of the Pilots and Aircrew, British, Commonwealth and Allied, who Flew with the Royal Air Force Fighter Command July 10 to October 31 1940 (Norwich: Gliddon Books, 1992).

32. Kenneth G. Wynn, Men of the Battle of Britain: a Biographical Directory of ‘The Few’: the Pilots and Aircrew from throughout the British Empire and her Allies, who Flew with the Royal Air Force, Fighter Command, between July 10th and October 31st 1940 (Selsdon: CCB Associates, 1999).

33. (consulted 6 April 2005); Edward McManus, interview with the author, 21 May 2005.

34. Geoff Simpson, Souvenir Guide to the National Memorial to the Few at Capel le Ferne (West Mailing: Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, 2005); Geoff Simpson, interview with the author, 8 July 2005; Geoffrey Page, Shot Down in Flames (London: Grubb Street, 1999); letter, Malcolm Smith, Secretary of the BBFA, to the author, 14 June 2005.

From “War & Society” Volume 24, Number 2 (November 2005)

©The University of New South Wales 2005