Battle of Britain museum opened by Prince Charles

Project manager Erica Ferguson gives BBC News a tour of the museum

Related Stories

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have opened a museum that commemorates the Battle of Britain.

The museum is housed in Bentley Priory, a mansion house that served as RAF Fighter Command's headquarters during World War II.

The rooms of the building in Harrow, north London, are now open to the public for the first time in 80 years.

The royal couple met veterans including female fighter controllers, and watched a memorial flypast.

BATTLE OF BRITAIN, 1940

An RAF fighter squadron 'scrambles' after receiving the signal to engage the enemy during the Battle of Britain
  • 18 June: Churchill announces "... the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin."
  • Mid-July: The battle begins. Luftwaffe focuses on attacking shipping and coastal defences
  • 12 August: Luftwaffe's focus shifts to destruction of RAF
  • 4 September: Luftwaffe, on Hitler's orders, switches tactics to destroying London and other major cities
  • 15 September: 'Battle of Britain Day' - RAF savages the huge incoming Luftwaffe formations in the skies above London
  • 17 September: Hitler postpones plans to invade Britain.

The female fighter controllers, known as the Beauty Chorus, were wartime members of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force and played a crucial role in identifying and intercepting incoming Luftwaffe bomber raids.

Several female veterans from Hampshire, Wokingham, Kent and Dorset, some of whom served at Bentley Priory, were present at the event.

'Never gave up'

They played a crucial role in identifying and intercepting incoming Luftwaffe bomber raids during World War II.

Prince Charles said: "Having just become a grandfather, one of the great things I remember when I was very small is having stories told to me about the war.

"I wanted to know everything in those days, as I was born in 1948."

Saying he had been lucky enough to meet some of those who defended Britain as part of Fighter Command, the prince added: "I at least have some idea of the remarkable nature of such people like, of course, the wonderful lady veterans who are here today from the filter room.

"At the age of 18, 19, 20 they were ensuring that this country never gave up."

The Prince of Wales, who is patron of the Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust, also unveiled a bust of Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding, who led RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain.

Built in the late 18th Century, Bentley Priory is a Grade II-listed building set in 57 acres of parkland.

It was an RAF headquarters complex until 2007, when the Ministry of Defence decided to close it.

The building is where Air Chief Marshal Dowding planned and commanded the defence of the country during the Battle of Britain.

The museum pays respect to the battle's RAF pilots, of whom Winston Churchill said: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Weather

London

20 °C 12 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Olympics' architect to get honorary degree 09:20:

    Award-winning architect Dame Zaha Hadid is to receive an Honorary Degree from Goldsmiths, University of London in September.

    Dame Zaha designed the Aquatics Centre at the London 2012 Olympics site.

     
  2.  
    Hospital 'must improve' 09:09:

    Emergency and end-of-life care need to be improved at the North Middlesex University Hospital, the Care Quality Commission has said.

    North Middlesex University Hospital North Middlesex University Hospital will be unable to get foundation status until its grade improves

    It rated the hospital as "requires improvement" but praised its surgery, children's and maternity care. The hospital's trust welcomed the report, saying it had just been through a period of "massive change".

     
  3.  
    News on the hour 08:58: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Figures released today show violent offences committed on the London Tube and the DLR has gone up almost 10% compared to a year ago.

    British Transport Police Chief Constable Paul Crowther gives his verdict in the 0900 bulletin.

     
  4.  
    On air 08:49: Vanessa Feltz Presenter, BBC London 94.9

    The United States says it tried and failed to rescue the murdered American journalist James Foley. British intelligence services are working to identify his killer, who spoke with an English accent.

    I'll have more from 09:00.

     
  5.  
    Crystal Palace successor 08:40:

    Malky Mackay is no longer in contention to succeed Tony Pulis as Crystal Palace boss after misconduct allegations were made by his former club, Cardiff City.

    Malky Mackay Malky Mackay is out of contention after misconduct allegations

    The Welsh club have sent a dossier to the Football Association outlining their claims against the Scot.

     
  6.  
    Signal failures 08:32:

    There are severe delays on London Overground on routes to Stratford, Richmond and Clapham Junction because of an earlier signal failure at Gunnersbury.

    There are problems on the Tube too following a signal failure at Rayners Lane. Piccadilly Line has minor delays between Acton Town and Uxbridge while the Metropolitan Line also has minor delays between Harrow on the Hill and Uxbridge.

     
  7.  
    Roads closed 08:23:

    In Southall, the A4020 Uxbridge Road remains closed between Woodlands Road and Townsend Road while police investigate a fatal stabbing.

    In the A503 Seven Sisters Road remains closed southbound from St Ann's Road to Amhurst Park for ongoing repairs to a water main. Get the latest travel information on BBC London Travel News or on Twitter @BBCTravelAlert.

     
  8.  
    Top stories
     
  9.  
    Dry and cool day 08:09:

    A fine, dry and cool start to the day, with plenty of sunshine.

    But cloud will push in from the north-west during the afternoon and evening with the possibility of the odd shower tonight. Highs of 19C (66F).

    BBC London weather
     
  10.  
    08:00: Rebecca Cafe BBC News

    Good morning, I'll be bringing you all the latest news, sport, travel and weather from London today for BBC Local Live.

    You can also send your news, pictures and comments to locallive@bbc.co.uk.

     

Features

  • Baby being handed overFraught world

    The legal confusion over UK surrogate births


  • Bad resultsBlame game

    The best excuses to use when exam results don't make the grade


  • Welsh flagDragon's den

    Why Wales will make its own mind up on independence


  • Police respond to a shooting in Santa MonicaTrigger decision

    What really happens before a police officer fires his gun?


Elsewhere on BBC News

  • Pulling a pint in MauritiusThe beer hunter

    One man's quest to bring artisan beer to the island of Mauritius

Programmes

  • Traffic lightsClick Watch

    From hacking cars to traffic lights - behind the scenes at a cyber-security conference

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.