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10 July 1940 - Day 1 of the Battle of Britain

The first day of the Battle of Britain saw the RAF in the first significant action against Luftwaffe attacks on shipping passing through the straits of Dover. Squadrons from North Weald (56), Hornchurch (74), Croydon (111) and Biggin Hill (610) all saw combat over the Channel, as well as Dover and Folkestone.

Hawkinge fighter station near Folkestone proved its value as the nearest aerodrome at which pilots could land their badly damaged aircraft. Squadron Leader Andrew Smith (see left) managed to crash land his Spitfire here after being hit in his port wing by an Me109 over Dover at 11.15am. Smith's aircraft was damaged but repairable and Smith lived to fight another day. However it would not be long before his experience would be repeated again but, on this occasion, with fatal consequences.

If you would like to learn more about what it was like to be a fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain, why not join a one day tour in East Kent?

Each tour includes:

  • personalised attention from your local expert guide, Dr Anthony Medhurst, throughout the tour

  • a visit to key sites in Dover and Hawkinge which record and commemorate the story of the Battle and the men who fought and died

  • the opportunity to hear the stories of airmen like Andrew Smith and others who fought against overwhelming odds against a determined foe

  • a visit to a pub frequented Battle of Britain fighter pilots in 1940 and from where you can view pilots' reports written after aerial combat

If you would like further information, please visit, call 07852 765901 or email

Photo courtesy of the Battle of Britain monument.

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