St Clement Danes RAF Statues

On my recent visit to London in 2020 I ended up in “The Strand” and subsequently found St Clement Danes church. The reason for this blogpost ties into my last post about “The Few” and the Battle of Britain.

On the pavement in front of the church are statues to Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris and Air Chief Marshall Hugh Caswall Tremenheere “Stuffy” Dowding.  The latter was directly involved in the Battle of Britain and I felt that it was worth expanding my images of the statue.

The statue was unveiled by the Queen Mother on 30/10/1988 and was sculpted by Faith Winter and the architect was CA. Hart. 

He was Air Officer Commanding RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain and is generally credited with playing a crucial role in Britain’s defence, and hence, the defeat of Adolf Hitler’s plan to invade Britain.  Dowding died at his home in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, on 15 February 1970. His body was cremated and its ashes were placed below the Battle of Britain Memorial Window in the Royal Air Force chapel in Westminster Abbey. 

The other statue relevant to the Battle Of Britain is that of  Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Montague Trenchard, (3 February 1873 – 10 February 1956) and it may be found in the Victoria Embankment Gardens. Unfortunately I only took a general pic of the statue at the time. 

It is inscribed:


marshall of the royal air force
g.c.b. o.m. g.c.v.o. d.s.o.

chief of the air staff 1918. 1919-1929
royal scots fusiliers.         1893-1919
west african frontier force         1903-1910
royal flying corps         1912-1918
royal air force         1918-1956
commissioner of the police
        of the metropolis         1931-1935

The statue was unveiled on 19 July 1961 by Harold Macmillan and sculpted by William McMillan.

Hugh Trenchard was instrumental in establishing the Royal Air Force and has been described as the “Father of the Royal Air Force.” During the second World War he continued to exert considerable influence over the RAF and he quietly but successfully lobbied for the removal of Cyril Louis Norton Newall as Chief of the Air Staff and Hugh Dowding as the Command-in-Chief of Fighter Command. Dowding was succeeded by Sholto Douglas, a  Trenchard protégé.  He in London on 10 February 1956 and was cremated and his ashes were entombed at the Battle of Britain Chapel in Westminster Abbey. 

DRW © 2020. Created 26/09/2020.

Posted in Aircraft, Heritage, Hobbies and Interests, London, Memorials and Monuments, Military, Photo Essay, Retrospective, War, War Memorial, World War 2 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on St Clement Danes RAF Statues

Remembering The Few

This past week Facebook was awash with pictures of useless, corrupt and lousy politicians, vapid celebs, mad cats and Spitfires. The Spitfires are the most important of the lot and that is because we were all remembering the events of World War Two collectively lumped together as “The Battle of Britain“.   The British officially recognise the battle’s duration as being from 10 July until 31 October 1940, which overlaps the period of large-scale night attacks known as the Blitz, that lasted from 7 September 1940 to 11 May 1941. Realistically we are commemorating the group of men who climbed into their Spitfires and Hurricanes to do battle with the Luftwaffe over the UK.  They are often referred to as “The Few“.

The Few paid a heavy price for their courage and determination, and Winston Churchill described their deeds as follows on 200 August 1940:

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

And while the pilots flew their fighters above they were supported by thousands of unsung heroes who maintained the aircraft, manned the radar stations, made the breakfast, repaired the airfields, tended the wounded and did their duty often under intense pressure and enemy action.  

The death toll amongst those involved is not easy to quantify because there are so many factors involved. Generally speaking the British RAF aircrew numbered 2,353 (80%) of the total of 2,927 flyers involved, with 407 Britons killed from a total of 510 losses. Not all of The Few were Britons either, as pilots from a number of countries served in the RAF during the battle of Britain.  The aircrew are commemorated on the Battle of Britain Memorial, Capel-le-Ferne, Kent, and their names are listed on the Battle of Britain Monument in London.

The memorial in London was unveiled on 18 September 2005 by HRH The Prince of Wales, in the presence of many of the surviving airmen from that era.

What I found striking about the memorial was the bronze reliefs that seemingly jump out of the background. They convey so much emotion in such detail that it is difficult to capture it on camera.

The Battle of Britain was a decisive one; the war could have gone very differently had it been lost by the RAF, fortunately that did not happen, and London came through in spite of the  32000 civilian deaths and 87000 injured.  

Stoke Newington Civilian War Dead Memorial

The Roll of Honour of The Few only lists individuals, but each one would have connected to loved ones that would be equally affected by their loss. They lived and died young, and fought furiously, facing odds that often seemed insurmountable. The sacrifice of The Few has not been forgotten, but unfortunately in the new “woke” world that may be deemed to be politically incorrect and relegated to the memories of those who chose not to forget.

Hawker Hurricane at RAF Cosford

A number of South Africans served and lost their lives flying with the RAF during the battle. As far as I can ascertain their names are (Casualties are linked to SAWGP page): 

BARRY, F/O N. J. M. 72514. South African. 3 & 501 Squadrons. Killed October 7th 1940
BOWYER, Fl/Lt W S39607. South African. 257 Squadron. Killed January 24th 1942
BURTON, F/O P. R. F. 74348. South African. 249 Squadron. Killed September 27th 1940
CHATER, S/L G. F. 34230 South African. 247 and 3 Squadrons
CLARK, P/O C. A. G. 42192. South African. F.I.U. Killed October 30th 1941
DIFFORD, F/O I. B. 39865 South African. 607 Squadron. Killed October 7th 1940
DRAKE, P/O G. J. 42398 South African. 607 Squadron. Killed September 9th 1940
GOLDSMITH, F/O C. W72152 South African. 603 & 54 Squadrons. Died of wounds October 28th 1940
GRAHAM, P/O L. W. 81912 South African. 56 Squadron
HAVILAND, P/O R. H76571 South African. 248 Squadron. Killed August 28th 1940
HAY, F/O. I. B. D. E. 39734 South African. 611 Squadron
HAYSOM, F/Lt. G. H. L. 39736 South African. 79 Squadron
HILL, P/O M. R72467 South African. 266 Squadron. Killed March 12th 1945**
HUGO, P/O P. H. DFC 41848 South African, 615 Squadron
HULL, F/Lt. C. B. DFC 37285 South African. 263 & 43 Squadrons. Killed September 7th 1940
LEWIS, P/O A. G. 41303 South African. 85 & 249 Squadrons
MALAN, F/Lt. A. G. DFC 37604 S/African. 74 Squadron
MORRIS, P/O E. J. 40132 South African. 79 Squadron
OELOFSE, P/O J. R. S42519 South African, 43 Squadron. Killed August 8th 1940
PEACOCK-EDWARDS, F/O S. R. 40747 South African. 615 & 253 Squadrons
POSENER, P/O F. H. 41735 South African. 152 Squadron. Missing July 20th 1940**
STAPLETON, F/O B. G. 41879 South African. 603 Squadron. Captured &  POW December 23rd 1944
VAN-MENTZ, F/O B. DFC 70826 South African. 222 Squadron. Killed April 26th 1941
WALLACE, Sgt. T. Y. DFM 149635 South African. 610 & 111 Squadrons. Killed November 11th 1944
WATKINSON, P/O A. B. 42921 South African. 66 Squadron 

(ROH sourced from

DRW © 2020. Created 16/09/2020

Posted in Aircraft, Heritage, Hobbies and Interests, London, Memorials and Monuments, Personal, Photo Essay, Retrospective, South Africa, United Kingdom, War, War Memorial, World War 2 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Remembering The Few