The Battle of Britain was a story of heroism and hair-raising dogfights, and film production depended heavily on the availability of period aircraft. Overall, 100 planes were assembled, dubbed the “35th largest air force in the world”. This rare behind-the-scenes footage was filmed on location, and documents some of the film’s most memorable moments – including the Eagle Day onslaught against British airfields. For anyone with an interest in aviation and pyrotechnics, working on the Battle of Britain must have been a dream come true.
This 8mm footage was shot in 1968 by Bob Foley, who was working as Sound Recordist on the “Making of the Battle of Britain” documentary. Rediscovering the footage 30 years later in his loft, Bob was impressed to find it still worked on the projector, and re-filmed it using digital video. Music and warplane sound effects helped bring the silent footage to life superbly.
In addition to real aircraft, a number of full scale models were built – some to be destroyed by “German bombs”. Several were capable of taxiing, with lawn mower engines to power their propellers. In one amusing shot, three Spitfires can be seen taxiing without their propellers moving. More relaxed moments show Messerschmitt BF 109s (really HA-1112 Buchons) parked near British Spitfires and Hurricanes, awaiting the call to “action”.
Video footage and screenshots reproduced with thanks to Bob Foley (via YouTube).