Battle of Britain’s ‘radar women’ remembered


image copyrightRAF Benevolent Fund
image captionThe video to mark the Battle of Britain was projected on the site of a former radar base in Suffolk

A light show tribute honouring “the women who were behind the scenes” working on radar has marked the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The RAF Benevolent Fund staged the commemoration at a former radar site in Bawdsey on the Suffolk Coast.

The Battle of Britain took place between July and October 1940.

On 15 September the RAF gained a victory over the Luftwaffe, which was widely seen as a decisive moment for Britain’s fortunes during World War Two.

John Hemingway, 101, a RAF pilot in the battle said “all those who fought during those difficult months, not just the pilots” should be remembered.

image copyrightCrown Copyright
image captionWomen worked as radar operatives and filter room attendants in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and the Royal Observer Corps
A video animation was projected on to the current site and included images of the Chain Home radar towers that were located all along the east coast of the UK.

It also featured the female radar operatives and filter room assistants who received and reported the information back to Fighter Command.

image copyrightRAF Benevolent Fund
image captionRAF Benevolent Fund said it hoped the public would reflect on the contribution made by those on ground during the battle
Mr Hemingway, the last surviving member of the Battle of Britain pilots known as “The Few”, said: “The RAF was the most sophisticated air force in the world at that time and we would not have prevailed unless everyone were true professionals and played their part.

“The aid of radar early warning would prove to be one of the vital British advantages in the battle.”

image copyrightRAF Benevolent Fund
image captionBattle of Britain Day is 15 September, the date of a decisive victory by the RAF

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, chief executive of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, said although the pilots should be remembered there were other involved in the battle “we don’t reflect on enough”.

“Particularly, the women who were behind the scenes, as radar operatives, filter room attendants serving in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force or members of the Royal Observer Corps,” he said.

image copyrightRAF Benevolent Fund
image captionThe Bawdsey site is now a museum dedicated to radar
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