On 31st October 1940 the Battle of Britain, waged between the German Luftwaffe and the British Royal Air Force in the skies of southern England, officially came to an end. For nearly four months both air forces had struggled for air superiority in the first major campaign to be fought entirely in the air; the British victory that followed stopped Hitler's planned amphibious and airborne invasion of Britain in its tracks.
In this incredible photograph, an aircraft spotter from the Observer Corps (later the Royal Observer Corps) can be seen on the roof of a building in London. St Paul's Cathedral can clearly be seen the background. A civil defence organisation, the Observer Corps monitored the skies throughout the war, tracking numbers and types of aircraft and reported back to Fighter Command. It was as a result of their work during the Battle of Britain that they were granted their royal title in 1941.
To honour the 75th anniversary of the battle in 2015, Osprey will be releasing a commemorative edition of Kate Moore's bestselling The Battle of Britain, produced in association with Imperial War Museums. Lavishly illustrated throughout, and accompanied by numerous first-hand accounts, this is a volume that captures the reality of a defining chapter in British history.
This original image can be seen here.
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