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Battle of Britain Remembrance Day at the Museum of Flight

70th anniversary of history’s greatest air battle honored with a full day of lectures and a weekend of events

SEATTLE, – In remembrance of the 70th anniversary history’s first major battle to be decided purely in the air–the Battle of Britain–The Museum of Flight presents a day of special presentations on Sept. 18, with two additional programs on Sept. 19.

Presenters include Museum of Flight aviation historians and experts on the history and aircraft of the Battle of Britain. General admission to all of the Sept. 18 Battle of Britain Remembrance Day programs is $10, ($5 for Museum members), and does not include admission to Museum galleries.  Sept. 19 programs are free with admission to the Museum. Seating is limited on Sept. 18, early registration is encouraged.

For reservations contact:
Sandra Ewing at 206.768.7221, [email protected]
Mike Lavelle at 206.768.7162, [email protected]

Battle of Britain Remembrance Day Programs
Saturday, September 19
7:30-8:15 a.m. Registration
8:20-9:30 a.m.
Command and Control, The Dowding Factor
Mike Lavelle, Author/Aviation Historian, The Museum of Flight Director of Public Programs
The summer of 1940 brought the greatest air battle in history to the skies above England – the Battle of Britain. How did the Royal Air Force overcome the Germany’s Luftwaffe?
9:30-10:30 a.m.
Assessing British Victories
John Alcorn, Author/Aviation Historian
John Alcorn will review his extensive research and methodology of his often-referred-to work on the actual victories won by RAF Squadrons during the Battle of Britain.
10:45-11:45 a.m. Early Design and Development of the Hurricane and Spitfire Aircraft
Barry Latter, The Museum of Flight Docent
What events and factors led to the just-in-time delivery of the two British front line fighters to RAF Fighter Squadrons?
1:00-2:00 p.m.
A Few of the Few
John Sessions, Founder of Historic Flight Foundation and a Spitfire Owner/Pilot
This talk will focus on the common characteristics of the American pilots serving in the Royal Air Force in the summer of 1940, what was their motivation, and the unusual sacrifices they were forced to make to meet the Germans in Europe rather than in America.
2:15-3:15 p.m.
German Perspective
John Little, Author/Aviation Historian and The Museum of Flight Assistant Curator
In the 70 years since the Battle of Britain, British historians have elevated the battle to near-sacred status. But what of “the other side,” the German Luftwaffe?
3:15-4:15 p.m.
The Other Few: International Squadrons
Dan Hagedorn, Internationally Known Author/Aviation Historian and Senior Curator at The Museum of Flight
Although the British pilots manning the defending fighters of the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm bore the brunt of one of the most crucial battles in history, the fact that the roughly 2,350 natives of the United Kingdom were aided during the struggle by not fewer than 574 pilots from
a host of other Allied nations.
4:15-5:15 p.m.
The Battle of Britain in American Context and Perspective
Richard Hallion, Internationally Known Author/Aviation Historian
The Battle of Britain was observed and intensively studied by American military officials. Dr. Richard P. Hallion analyzes American interest in the battle, what lessons were learned, and how this was reflected in subsequent American air operations and force development.
5:15-5:30 p.m. Wrap Up
Battle of Britain Remembrance Day Programs
Sunday, Sept. 19
“Tip to Tail Tours” of Battle of Britain Aircraft
11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m., Personal Courage Wing World War II Collection
Museum docents give a personal tour of the types of aircraft flown in the Battle of Britain.
Amazing Skies Theater
The Battle of Britain: One Family’s Story
2:00 p.m., William M. Allen Theater
The Museum’s resident acting troupe, Amazing Skies Theater, presents the great air battle from the perspective of a family whose lives are forever changed by it.
The Battle of Britain
After taking control of Western Europe beginning in October 1939, the German air force-Luftwaffe-began its assault upon the British Isles on July 1, 1940 hoping to destroy the British Air Force before a massive invasion by German troops. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared that “the battle of Britain had begun.” It was history’s first major battle to be decided purely in the air and the first real test of air power as a defensive and offensive weapon. The Luftwaffe entered the battle known as an unstoppable force, with more aircraft and more experienced pilots than the British Royal Air Force. By the end of October 1940 the success of the British defenses had convinced the German high command to shift its focus to the invasion of the Soviet Union instead. The invasion of the British Isles by German troops was never attempted.

Image: British Hawker Hurricanes on patrol during World War II. Museum of Flight photo.

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The non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest independent air and space museums in the world. The Museum’s collection includes more than 150 historically significant air- and spacecraft, as well as the William E. Boeing Red Barn® – the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Co. The J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing displays 28 World War I and World War II aircraft from the United States and other countries including Germany, Russia, and Japan. Over 30 aircraft representing the first century of aviation are displayed in the all-glass T.A. Wilson Great Gallery. The evolution of space flight and a look into the future are presented in the exhibit, Space: Exploring the New Frontier. The Airpark includes outdoor displays including the first jet Air Force One, a supersonic Concorde airliner and the prototype Boeing 747 jumbo jet. Interactive displays in The Flight Zone provide educational and entertaining activities for young children. The Museum’s aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. More than 140,000 students are served annually by the Museum’s on-site and outreach educational programs–the most extensive museum-based youth aviation and space education program in the country. The Museum is the only air and space museum in Washington State that is both nationally accredited with the American Association of Museums and a Smithsonian affiliate.
The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5 on Boeing Field half-way between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for active military, $8 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720

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