LONDON WALKING TOUR
Immerse yourself in the history of the Battle of Britain on this private walking tour in Central London. Benefit from personalised attention and the ability to ask questions as we walk alongside key sites such as the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey with its chapel dedicated to aircrew from this conflict; view memorial statues to the founder of the RAF, Viscount Trenchard, and the Battle of Britain Monument; and remember the role of its inspirational leader, Winston Churchill, at the Churchill War Rooms and No10 Downing Street. Our 2 hour walking tour ends at a largely unchanged pub in Mayfair which was frequently used by the pilots themselves and subsequently became known as the 'unofficial headquarters' of Fighter Command.
The Houses of Parliament
On 10 May 1940 - the day that Hitler launched his invasion of France and the Low Countries - King George VI asked Winston Churchill to form a government. Within weeks, Europe would be conquered and Britain would be alone.
Hear about the nature and severity of the threat facing Churchill's Few, and how the Prime Minister's speeches from the House of Commons during the summer of 1940 did much to raise the spirits of the nation and immortalise the contribution of the Few.
Battle of Britain Memorial
The Battle of Britain Memorial stands on the bank of the Thames across the water from the London Eye and near Whitehall and Parliament. This 25 metre long bronze and granite sculpture was created by Paul Day and dedicated by Prince Charles in 2005. It commemorates the 2936 pilots and aircrew from 14 countries who fought to keep London free from invasion in 1940. The bronze panels depicts a number of scenes from the Battle of Britain and includes the contributions of so many men and women on the home front and in factories who enabled the pilots to emerge victorious. However it is the central panel - the call to 'Scramble' - that literally stands out from the others.
'Unofficial HQ of Fighter Command'
Like many airmen in the Battle of Britain, Tony Bartley and Geoffrey Page and their fellow pilots frequently sought sanctuary in the pubs and night clubs of London after a day's combat or when leave was possible. Our tour will conclude with a visit to a pub that was a particular favourite of them all. As Page recounted in his autobiography, 'Tale of a Guinea Pig':
"In a wave of laughter and repartee, [twelve pilots] poured through the green and yellow doors, to swell the numbers of occupants in the the well-filled bar.... By almost unanimous decision the Fighter Command pilots established [it]...as their unofficial headquarters during the war years. Our pilots formed a wedge and moved towards the bar. Pints of beer passed backwards on a human chain and soon our chatter was adding its note to the buzz of conversation in the crowded room... Time was running short for the merry men with their frothing pint pots. But I was content with my lot"