Friday, 2 June 2017

Sir Hugh Dowding bust unveiled at Capel-le-Ferne, Battle of Britain memorial

The bust of one of the masterminds of the RAF's victory in the Battle of Britain has been unveiled this week by Prince Michael of Kent and Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding's daughter-in-law Lady Odette Dowding at the Capel-le-Ferne Battle of Britain memorial to the 'The Few' near Folkestone. Sir Hugh Dowding is credited as the man who ensured the RAF had a critical advantage in the famous air combat which took place over the south of England during the summer of 1940. The bust was sculpted by Will Davies whose bust of Sir Keith Park is also at the memorial. Park was tactical chief during the Battle and looks right, over the Channel out towards France and an incoming raid. Dowding's bust looks left towards the memorial Wall, which has inscribed on it all the names of the RAF pilots who took part in the Battle , the men he described as 'my fighter boys'.

According to some "Dowding ranks with Nelson and Wellington as the saviour of Britain at its time of need". Primarily known as head of Fighter Command during the Battle, he had stood up to the Air Council and Churchill to prevent Fighter Command being sent to France in large numbers and being destroyed. During the pre-war period he was head of the technical branch leading the push for radar and integrated it into a fully operational integrated air defense system - the world's first. His command was at the forefront of developments in radar (or RDF - radio direction finding) and a control system for his squadrons to use their maximum capacity possible. Importantly he enjoyed the great respect of his pilots and ground crews. Hugh Dowding passed away in 1970 at his home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

The Battle of Britain Memorial website