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Sunday, 25 February 2018

Woodbine and Ivy Research - The Battle of Britain


Woodbine and Ivy is turning into an epic story! Not only have the characters hoiked me off to Paris and Normandy, thus involving the French Resistance  (and therefore the background politics of a very complicated time) but one of them witnesses a key battle in the heroic fight between German and British airforces. It's thrilling stuff but much of the research is equally grim. This war was indeed our darkest hour, not just for us, but for the whole world. Let's hope history never repeats itself. 
Image result for pictures of the battle of britain
However, the way people responded to the threat of Nazism can often be uplifting. 
Take this anecdote: (courtesy of http://www.battleofbritain1940.net/0026.html)

"Another story is that a young pilot from North Weald, his Hurricane badly shot up, trailing smoke and with his controls damaged was fighting to keep altitude, yet all the way in, he was singing 'Maisey don'ts and daisy don'ts a little lambsey divey' only to interrupt his singing with a message to base that they should keep the kettle boiling as he was getting close."




Image result for pictures of the battle of britain

Another quote from the same amazingly detailed site (took me days to find it!):
"Many Station Commanders put 'red tape' and 'going by the book' to one side to welcome back their pilots, others got caught up in the excitement and themselves in their own way became part of the Battle of Britain. One pilot said "...that it was always good to know that after exhausting combat, it was good to know that you would be welcomed home by your commander, most commanders were not bad, they showed their admiration for their pilots in so many ways."  Group Captain Richard Grice at Biggin Hill airfield threw all books out of the window and ordered crates of beer for all pilots returning after combat, at Hornchurch Wing Commander Cecil Bouchier often gave a running commentary over the station loudspeaker system from the Ops Room so that all members of the ground crew and administrative staff would know what was going on. He would yell out in excitement like a commentator at a football match that 'Blue Leader has got a Dornier' or "Blue One has a 109 on his tail, he's diving....yes he's left...  now right....a Spit....yes a Spit has got the 109...yes Blue One has gone back into action" and a loud cheer would go up as all the listeners joined in the excitement.


Truly, I'm learning that it might have been the darkest hour in the history of humankind but it was, to quote Churchill this time, also 'our finest.'


4 comments:

  1. What an amazing and horrific time for people to have lived through. Good luck with the research, it's the ordinary stories that we don't hear enough of.

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    1. Thanks Sally. I'm developing the story through the eyes of the children of Kate and Cassandra; putting them in the situations and letting them tell me what happens next. Of course I can't do that until I have a real grip on events. It's taking a while!

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  2. Wonderful story telling though, Alex. Brilliant writing. x

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