Located near the famous White Cliffs, between Dover and Folkestone in Kent, the pleasant village of Capel-le-Ferne is home to a monument dedicated to the allied aircrew who fought in the Battle of Britain. Sitting adjacent to a Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire replica – enduring symbols of the heroic British and Commonwealth fight against German invasion – a lone airman gazes out over the English Channel in a poignant gesture to missing friends.
Initiated by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and opened by the Queen Mother in July 1993, the Battle of Britain Memorial was designed as a large propeller shape with the seated pilot, carved by Harry Gray, at its centre. Nearby, the names of almost 3000 aircrew from Fighter Command, who took part in the Battle, appear on the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall.
The full size replica aircraft stand to the west of the monument. The Spitfire replica (above) is a newer addition to the Hawker Hurricane (below), and together they form a fitting tribute to “The Few“. Their position under the now-peaceful Kent sky, where the Battle of Britain raged during the summer of 1940, is highly significant. So too is their proximity to the White Cliffs of Dover, considered a symbolic guard against invasion at the narrowest point of the English Channel.
While the Spitfire captured the public imagination and created a lasting legacy due to its speed, agility and grace, the Hurricane deservedly cemented its reputation during the Battle of Britain, claiming 60% of the RAF’s air victories. Cheaper and significantly easier to fly than the Spitfire, it was a popular aircraft with pilots. This Hurricane replica (coded US-X) represents the plane flown by 20-year-old British fighter ace Geoffrey Page when he was shot down, surviving despite suffering terrible burns.
More Battle of Britain: Don’t miss this rare behind-the-scenes footage from the 1968 feature film.