THE AUXILIARY AIR FORCE AND THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
At the outbreak of the war, all of the Auxiliary Air Force (AAF) Sqns were mobilised and became, de facto, part of the RAF. Notwithstanding, they retained much of their auxiliary provenance and identity and, for the purposes of this article will be referred to as AAF Sqns. Moreover, many of the aircrew on these AAF Sqns were not former members of the pre-
The Battle of Britain took place from 10 July 1940 to 7 September 1940. It ranks amongst the most momentous events in the history of warfare and is arguably the most significant in the history of aerial combat. It marked the first defeat of Nazi forces and was a decisive turning point of WWII. Not only did it force Hitler to postpone his planned invasion of the United Kingdom but, as a consequence, it allowed Britain to become a vital stronghold from which the Nazi war machine could then be engaged at sea, on land and in the air, and, in 1944, from which the liberation of Western Europe could be launched.
The AAF Sqns played a major role in the Battle, and their contribution to its successful outcome was both considerable and indispensable. For instance:
ICommenting on the successful outcome of the Battle, Winston Churchill’s words “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”. applied in full measure to the vital contribution made by the AAF Sqns and the pre-
501 Sqn Hurricanes
602 Sqn Spitfire
604 Sqn Blenheim