Thursday, 30 July 2015

#BattleofBritain75 #WW2 Lord Beaverbrook Minister Of Aircraft Production

Lord Beaverbrook

On May 14th 1940 Lord  Beaverbrook was appointed Minister Of Aircraft Production by Churchill. Beaverbrook recognised the need for increased fighter production which went against popular thinking of the time at the Air Ministry, but was in agreement with Hugh Dowding.
At Castle Bromwich an aircraft factory had been established by Lord Nuffield at a cost of £4000,000 in 1939, but by 1940 no aircraft had been completed. Beaverbrook telephoned Supermarine, told them to take over the factory and produce only fighters, he also told them to ignore orders to tool up for bomber production. Although it would take some time to resolve the problems, in June 1940, 10 Mk IIs were built; 23 rolled out in July, 37 in August, and 56 in September.

Spitfires at Castle Bromwich

Beaverbrook clearly, when asked to do a job, he did it and got the results. Castle Bromwich produced an estimated 11,780 Spifires by the time the war ended in 1945

Len Deighton writes in Fighter,  that Beaverbrook would every evening during the Battle Of Britain ring his son, who was flying Spitfires to check he was okay. Next he would ring Air Vice Marshall Park, to ask him how many Spitfires & Hurricanes he required the next day - and where he would like them delivered. The next day, Park would receive his aircraft without fail. If only we could slice through the red tape like that now.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Time Travelling Toby & The Battle Of Britain

Time  Travelling Toby & The Battle Of Britain

I had the pleasure yesterday of meeting Graham Jones, author of Time Travelling Toby and he gave me a copy of one of his books. As a parent it is sometimes difficult sharing interests, hopefully this will help. It is really well written, Toby and his siblings go back in time in their special time travelling car. There are even some key facts at the back of the book and the illustrations are brilliant. Graham Jones has a website, is on Facebook & Twitter.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

#WW2 Fight for the Sky - 1945 Educational Documentary - USAAF Fighter Pilots Escorting Bombers in Europe

Another really good documentary about the USAAF escorting the bombers in daylight raids.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

R.J. Mitchell - The Spitfire Story - Aviation Documentary

Sunday, 5 July 2015

#WW2 1940's Online Radio Station

I found this excellent online radio station which plays 1940's music, click on the link and take yourselves back to the 1940's,

Saturday, 4 July 2015

#WW2 #1940 Churchill Speaks on Mers-el-Kébir (Oran)

After the Royal Navy attacked the French ships at Mers-el-Kebir, Churchill gave this speech. It was an act the Royal Navy was not proud of, neither was Churchill. Britain could not afford French battleships to be taken over by Germany. The French fleet did not join Britain in fighting against Germany, so it left Churchill with no choice but to order the attack named Operation Catapult.(Please see previous post

Friday, 3 July 2015

Your Home As An Air Raid Shelter (1940) #WW2

Excellent Pathe film demonstrating how to protect yourselves in an air raid.

Battle Of Oran - The Destruction Of The French Fleet July 3rd 1940 #WW2 #1940

German propaganda poster Battle of Oran
July 3rd 1940 was a dark day for both British and French navies. The bulk of the French fleet came under attack from H-Force (Royal Navy) at Mers-el-Kebir near Oran in Operation Catapult. Churchill had given the French a choice - sail to the USA, surrender to the British fleet or you will be attacked. The French fleet could have been taken over by Germany or even fought on the German side like the Vichy French. July 1940 was not a time to be gambling with Britain standing alone against Germany. so the Royal Navy attacked. 1297 French  sailors were killed, 5 battleships damaged, one sunk. In one engagement the British had killed more French than Germans since 1940. Not a proud moment in our history, but perhaps necessary. Actual war diaries from Force H can be found here: