During October 2020, to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, I had the idea and organised a fundraiser which saw three of us run over 80 miles in just five days between 16 significant Battle of Britain Fighter Stations and locations in the UK. Our purpose was to raise awareness of the Battle of Britain and the ‘Few’ during a poignant anniversary year, and to raise funds for both The National Memorial To The Few at Capel Le Ferne, and The Kent Battle Of Britain Museum Trust at Hawkinge. Both receive no public funding and pay a wonderful, lasting tribute to the human sacrifices of the great air battle in 1940, and which are very close personal causes.
With only one of the ‘Few’ left surviving in the 80th Anniversary year, we were truly humbled to have the support of 101 year old Hurricane pilot, Gp Cpt John ‘Paddy’ Hemingway DFC who flew with No. 85 Squadron.
We were also hugely grateful for the incredible support we received from many organisations and individuals in promoting the event, alongside each of the venues who hosted and accommodated us on our route.
Day 1: Duxford – Fowlmere – Debden
Day 2: North Weald – Hornchurch – Biggin Hill – Kenley – Croydon
Day 3: Uxbridge – Northolt – Bentley Priory
Day 4: Westhampnett – Tangemere
Day 5: Manston – Hawkinge – Capel le Ferne
Covid pandemic restrictions did their best to scupper things, having postponed the original planned dates in July. However between 5th-9th October we succesfully completed the run, 86 miles in total over the 5 days.
With just under 3,000 RAF aircrew who served during the Battle of Britain, between the 10th July – 31st October 1940, we had hoped to raise a minimum of £3,000 (£1 for each of these brave young men). More than 540 would lose their lives during this period, with many others either badly injured or maimed, or who would not see the end of the war.
Thanks to such incredible support and the huge generosity of so many, we raised more than £8,000 to be split between both causes – both who suffered financially because of forced closures during the 2020 pandemic.
The Battle of Britain was a hugely defining point in world history and enabled the platform for the liberation of Europe, the defeat of the Nazi regime and the preservation of world freedom. It was an honour to run in their memory, the memory of friends and we can’t thank everyone enough who was part of, or helped support our memorable journey.
In particular, we are hugely grateful to the various locations who facilitated us both before and on our route, including:
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Historic Aircraft Collection, Shuttleworth Collection, Aircraft Restoration Company, Fowlmere Airfield Museum, North Weald Airfield, Hornchurch Aerodrome Historical Trust, Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, Kenley Revival, The Battle of Britain Bunker, Bentley Priory Museum, Boultbee Flight Academy, Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum, The Kent Battle of Britain Museum, The Battle of Britain Memorial and The Jackdaw
Lest We Forget