Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Amazing Monument to Battle of Britain

We were in London over Christmas, and enjoyed seeing how London celebrates Christmas, in comparison to how the rest of Europe celebrates with lighting and markets.  There didn't seem to be the large Christmas market like we had seen in Manchester, and on Christmas day everything was closed down, and there was no public transportation.  Trains were not running for two days in a row, which caused a huge mess for people trying to get to the airports without spending a fortune.  It wasn't a  total loss, however, in the 4 days, we did take in a performance of The Phantom of the Opera, and  we got in a lot of walking, were we saw Parliament, Big Ben (enclosed by construction), and we found that Westminster Abbey was closed.    

What We Found Cast in Bronze

Walking along the Thames river we found a wonderful monument to the people who fought in the Battle of Britain.  The casting in bronze was amazing in itself to see, yet really told the story through a great work of art.   You can feel the courage people had to face danger, the artist, Paul Day, has created a masterpiece.  If you don’t know about the Battle of Britain, here is some background.

Hitler ordered a massive amount of destructive air raids from the 10th of July through the 31st of October, 1940,   German pilots only had to fly across the Channel as France had fallen.  The Royall Air Force  (RAF) Fighter Command, had far fewer planes but put up a stubborn defence.
Fighting with fewer fighter planes the British air force endured and overcame the Luftwaffe.   The result of which was that Hitler decided not to invade Great Britain.  

The monument to the battle was not just fought by the pilots, but also by the civilians on the ground who were involved fire fighting, caring for the bombing victims, artillery, and clean up of the damage.  The monument clearly shows all who were involved in great detail.  The faces sculpted with care show the angst and shock of war,  they show the courage people had to face danger.  The artist put a lot of thought into his creation.  This, to me, is one of the finest monuments I have seen dedicated to  past events while living in Europe these past 9 years.  

No Government Funds Used
The funds used to build the monument were made from public donations.  It is located on the north side of the Thames, opposite the Eye.  The Sculptor was Paul Day and it was cast by  the Morris Singer foundry.  One can also see the names of all the airmen who are credited as flying during the battle.

The monument was unveiled on  September 18, 2005 by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

Detail is Amazing
The horror of war, the destruction of London is well crafted here.  If you are in  London, be sure and make a visit to see this.  My Facebook British friends, hats off to you!  
ciao tutti!

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