Tag Archives: World War 2

Salute to the ’40s

I had an opportunity to spend a day at the Chatham Historic Dockyard a week ago. It was a special event weekend, called Salute to the ’40s, with military vehicles, folk doing re-enactments, live period music and so on. I was in the company of a friend who had won tickets to the event.

For those blessed with iDevices, go here for the set in Flickr

Dornier Do17Z | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

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I built this model over a decade ago. It represents a plane that was shot down near Maidstone, and was intended for a local museum display that never really got anywhere. This is the aircraft type that the RAF Museum hopes to recover from the Goodwin Sands.

The RAF Museum’s web site has a video of the 2010 underwater survey, which is well worth watching. It shows the remarkable state of preservation of the wreck.

BBC News – Luftwaffe Dornier 17 at Goodwin Sands ‘still intact’

‘Still intact’

The wreck of the plane sank some 50 ft (15.24m) to the bottom, turning turtle as it did so, and came to rest on its back on the notoriously shifting Goodwin Sands, which soon covered it.

Last month, a team on board the Port of London Authority (PLA) vessel, Yantlet, set out from Ramsgate to survey the wreck using the latest high-tech sonar equipment.

The survey confirmed an earlier finding that the plane has now been uncovered by the sand, as 70 years of time and tide have done their work.

“The really good news today is that we’ve got some very clear imagery,” said John Dillon-Leetch, the PLA’s deputy port hydrographer.

“The wreck is there. It seems to be still intact, and we’ll find out more information over the next few days as we process and look down deeper into the data we have.”

I hope the funds can be secured to raise the plane, before too much is pilfered by souvenir hunters.

Related posts: BBC News – WWII German bomber to be recovered from Goodwin Sands

The things you learn

I am following a Twitter feed from the UK National Archives. The feed is literally a blow-by-blow account of the British War Cabinet meetings during 1940.

At this point in June 1940, we’ve been through the humiliation of Dunkirk, and we’re about to face the Battle of Britain. However, while the British were licking wounds and making snarling noises in the direction of Germany, France was fighting for her life.

In the Cabinet papers today, I learn that there was a proposal to make “an indissoluble union and unyielding resolution in defence of liberty and freedom”. The Declaration of Union would be put to the French government the next day.

The whole idea was as far-reaching as it was startling. While there would be no single currency, citizens of each country would become citizens of the other, and there would be a so-called Super War Cabinet which would direct the progress of the war for the two countries. The man behind this whole idea is none other than General de Gaulle – the very one who about thirty years later would categorically deny the UK entry to the Common Market!

Be that as it may, if things had worked out, by the end of June 1940, there would have been a Franco-British union. Sadly, no sooner than the British War Cabinet agreed to proceed with the idea, word came through that the French High Council was meeting to decide whether further resistance against the German invaders was possible. History tells us that the French surrendered to occupation shortly after, and Great Britain was left alone to continue the fight.

How different things might have been had the proposed union been considered earlier in the year, or even before the outbreak war in 1939.

BBC News – Audio slideshow: Rescue from Dunkirk

I “discovered” the Battle of Britain as part of a history curriculum subject at school. I became hooked, and over the years I’ve maintained my interest.

I’ve also become fascinated with the whole period leading up to the Battle, and as we’re now into a season of 70th anniversaries, various organisations are looking at Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of 330,000 Allied troops from Dunkerque and Calais. Today marks the first day of the operation itself, and I would like to share this audio slideshow with you.

BBC News – £80m Battle of Britain monument plan unveiled

Battle of Britain Beacon

Plans to erect a striking 116-metre beacon as a monument to the Battle of Britain have been unveiled.

The Battle of Britain Beacon will cost £80m and be taller than Big Ben.

The structure will be built at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, north west London, and will house a permanent exhibition on the WWII air conflict.

The museum announced the scheme ahead of the 70th anniversary of the battle, which raged in the skies over Britain from July to October 1940.

Being a long-time Battle of Britain nut, I’m not sure what to make of this.