The Battle of Britain In June 1940, France was defeated by Nazi Germany. This caused the British forces in France to retreat to defend Britain. Hitler planned to invade Britain after defeating the RAF – how important were the RAF in changing the course of the Second World War?
The hangar also contains one of the German Battle of Britain aircraft, the Messerschmitt 109E. This aircraft was taken on a Bundles for Britain tour of America to raise money after it crash landed. Have a look at the fuselage and tail of the ME 109.
Can you find proof of what happened to the aircraft whilst it was in America?
Have a look at the information board near the nose of the aircraft. How does the Messerschmitt compare with the Hurricane and Spitfire?
During the Battle of Britain, cities like London were bombed. Fighter planes were used to try to stop the Luftwaffe from reaching their targets.
The bombing during the Battle of Britain is known as the Blitz. What it ‘Blitz’ short for?
We have tried to highlight the areas of the museum which are relevant to your talk and provide activities for the pupils to do there – there is no expectation that any one class or group will complete the whole trail!
This trail focuses around Hangar 4, the Battle of Britain and is a 10-15 minute walk from the Visitor Centre.
If you would like to visit other hangars or cover topics outside your talk, please feel free to explore our other sessions and trails. You are welcome to use images and ideas from these trails to create your own trail – please keep copyright numbers with images where appropriate.
From the British perspective, the Battle of Britain happened during July to October of 1940 (from the German perspective, it is between 13th August 1940 and June 1941). Hitler needed to defeat the RAF because he was going to invade by sea and saw the RAF as too much of a threat to his ships. The Luftwaffe bombed communication lines and airfields first and then military and civilian targets during the Blitz.
The Spitfire flies at 357 mph (575 kph) and has two cannons and four machine guns. The Hurricane flies at 340 mph (544 kph) and has twelve machine guns. Which is the best fighter plane is a matter of opinion! The Spitfire came to represent the British efforts in the Battle of Britain and is probably the more popular amongst the public at the time, however the Hurricane shot down more enemy aircraft than all the other defences combined.
The ME 109E went on a tour of America and people who donated to Bundles for Britain could scratch their names on the fuselage. The Spitfire is comparable to the Messerschmitt.
Blitz is short for ‘Blitzkreig’. Ground defences used to stop the German bombers were anti-aircraft guns, search lights and barrage balloons.
When discussing Churchill’s quote, it may help to point out that 544 pilots from Fighter Command died during the Battle of Britain.