Tag Archives: the summer of 1940

While I’m here…


This little Austin 8hp saloon passed across the workbench as a brief excursion into something different.

Regular readers will know of my predilection for things 1940, and that I have been slowly building up various models to represent the aircraft of the Royal Air Force and Luftwaffe that took part in the Battle of Britain. The chosen scale has been 1/72nd, for space and consistency reasons and, while nothing concrete has happened yet, there are many plans for dioramas to display various aircraft. Dioramas need props, and I’m always on the lookout for suitable vehicles and buildings to help me.

This car kit was the right scale, and hails from the Czech Republic. I’ve built it to represent a civilian car of the period, rather than the military model it was intended to be. The whitewash marks and the hooded headlamp on the nearside are correct for the summer of 1940. I expect this model to be owned by an RAF pilot, parked near the dispersal area ready to speed him and his chums to a local town for some much-needed alcohol-based relaxation after a heavy day’s fighting.

The Austin 8hp “Four Lite” saloon was launched on the buying public in 1939, only to be virtually stifled by the outbreak of the second world war. Many were purchased by the War Office, and pressed into military service with the British Army as staff cars. Quite a few were taken to France in 1939, only to be abandoned during the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. There are photos that show the German Army found these little cars useful, too, and many were used throughout the war. Production resumed after the war ended, until new models were developed in the late 1940s.

Late Spitfire pilot helps save Battle of Britain control tower

As a Battle of Britain nut, this is good news.

(Of course, the pedant in me must insist this isn’t a “control tower”. Such creatures didn’t exist in the RAF at the time, so this building is more correctly described as a Type 518/40 ‘Watch Office with Meteorological Section’. Happily, the linked story does mention this eventually. My inner pedant would also like to point out the building may not actually have existed in 1940, but was extant at the time the film was made in 1942.)

A unique wartime control tower where classic film The First of the Few was filmed has been saved from ruin thanks to the legacy of a Spitfire pilot.

More than 70 years after the movie starring David Niven and Leslie Howard was recorded at RAF Ibsley the dilapidated concrete building is to be restored to its former glory after wartime pilot Des Smith left thousands dedicated to the cause in his will.

via Late Spitfire pilot helps save Battle of Britain control tower where wartime classic The First of The Few was filmed by leaving thousands of pounds in his will. | Forces-War-Records.