Battle of Britain remembrance

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Classe(s) : Tle ES - Tle L - Tle S | Thème(s) : History and remembrance
Corpus Corpus 2
Battle of Britain remembrance



Documents Analysis


Battle of Britain monument in London



[Kind of document] This document is a photograph of a monument made up of two high-relief friezes cast in bronze. [Author] It was conceived by Bill Bond, founder of the Battle of Britain Historical Society. The sculptor, Paul Day, is internationally renowned.

[Public targeted and aim of the document] This monument commemorates the achievements of the RAF, the “few”. This sculpture is located in London, on Victoria Embankment, close to Westminster Bridge in order that Londoners and tourists from all around the world may see it. [Historical background] This monument was unveiled on September 18th, 2005, for the 65th anniversary of the Battle, two months after the 7/7 terrorist attacks on London.


 The monument is two-fold. On one fold, only the accomplishments of RAF Fighter Command are celebrated. The important moment, when the signal to “scramble” (to take off in an emergency) is given, takes centre stage. It is the very symbol of the Battle. The life-size figures of pilots surge off the wall.

 On the other fold (the one shown on the photograph), a myriad of individuals are represented: London children revealing their amusement at seeing Spitfires, women working at the aircraft and munitions factory… St Paul’s Cathedral stands intact among the rubble of the Blitz.


 The first fold of the frieze symbolizes the myth of the “few”. The remembrance of the heroism of RAF pilots is at the heart of this project, using the same image that Winston Churchill in his famous speech, “The Few” (August 20th, 1940).

 On the other fold, the sculptor presents the same heroic interpretation of the Blitz. For Paul Day, the Blitz needs to be celebrated because all the Nation worked together to resist and carry on with their daily lives.


This vision is not complete. Historical books do not influence this cast. Military historians focus on the role of the maritime service in the Battle of Britain to thwart Operation Sea Lion.

 The British historian Juliet Gardiner also insists on class antagonism during the Blitz explaining that working-class people were the first casualties.


The main idea of this monument may be summarized by Churchill’s quotation written under the frieze (>card2). But it doesn’t include all the British soldiers and civilians fighting against the enemy.


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