battle of britain


The Battle of Britain

  • The Battle of Britain

    2011 marks the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which was fought between July and October 1940. New Zealanders played a key role in this vital struggle, flying the Hurricanes and Spitfires of Fighter Command, or serving in other roles in the air, at sea and on the ground.

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  • Page 2 – The invasion threat

    The origins of the Battle of Britain lay in the dramatic and unexpected collapse of the Allied front in Western Europe in May-June 1940.

  • Page 3 – Opposing forces

    British preparationsSir Hugh Dowding with Battle of Britain pilotsWhile the military authorities struggled to make good post-Dunkirk deficiencies, the Royal Air Force (RAF) was

  • Page 4 – The battle: July-August

    The battle: first phaseBritish pilots 'scramble', July 1940Luftwaffe (German air force) commanders recognised that their main task was to whittle down the strength of Royal Air

  • Page 5 – The battle: September-October

    Tactical disputesPainting of Keith Park, 1940In early September 1940 Britons steeled themselves for the German invasion that now seemed imminent.

  • Page 6 – New Zealand's contribution

    New Zealanders in the battleAlan Deere's Nine Lives memoirThere were many New Zealanders among ‘the Few’ – Churchill’s grateful description of the airmen who took part in the

  • Page 7 – Aftermath

    The tollNew Zealand pilot's gravestoneBoth sides lost heavily during the Battle of Britain. More than 1700 Luftwaffe (German air force) planes were destroyed.

  • Page 8 – Kiwi stories

    Selected biographies of New Zealanders involved in the Battle of Britain.

  • Page 9 – Roll of honour

    List of New Zealand aircrew who died while serving with RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, July-October 1940. Includes link to full list of those who served.

  • Page 10 – Further information

    This web feature was written by Ian McGibbon with the assistance of Gareth Phipps, who wrote the biographies. The feature was produced by the team.


  • Deere, Alan Christopher

    Alan Christopher Deere is possibly New Zealand’s most famous fighter pilot of the Second World War. He was also one of the luckiest – surviving several near death experiences to become one of the outstanding pilots of the Battle of Britain.

  • Clouston, Wilfrid Greville

    Wilfrid Greville Clouston was one of the first New Zealand air aces of the Second World War. He survived the Battle of Britain only to spend the majority of the war in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

  • Herrick, Michael James

    Michael James Herrick was one of five brothers to serve during the Second World War. He flew with distinction during the Battle of Britain and in the Pacific before being killed on air operations over Denmark.

  • McIndoe, Archibald Hector

    Archibald Hector McIndoe was a New Zealand-born surgeon whose pioneering treatment of burns victims during the Second World War revolutionised the field of plastic surgery.

  • Park, Keith Rodney

    Keith Rodney Park carved out a prestigious career in the Royal Air Force and played a pivotal role in the defence of London and south-east England during the Battle of Britain.