The Battle of Britain (6): the final day

It is a rather arbitrary designation but the Battle of Britain was said in retrospect to have concluded on 31 October 1940 – 70 years ago today. Those brave pilots of the Royal Air Force saved Britain from German invasion and changed the course of world history.

The Royal Air Force roll of honour for the Battle of Britain recognises 595 non-British pilots (out of 2,936) as flying at least one authorised operational sortie with an eligible unit of the RAF between 10 July and 31 October 1940.  That means that one in five of the RAF pilots were not British.

Some 88 of them were Czechoslovaks including the top-scoring RAF pilot of the Battle, the Czech Josef Frantisek who flew with the Polish 303 Squadron and scored 17 victories, and my wife’s father, the Czech Karel Kuttelwascher who flew with the British 1 Squadron (and went on later to score 18 victories).

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