In June and early July 1940, the Luftwaffe regrouped in readiness for Operation Sealion - the invasion of Britain. Their aim was to destroy the Royal Air Force. The Battle of Britain began on the 10th July.
As the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill announced, "What General Weygrand called the Battle of France is over, the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.
Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour."
The Luftwaffe had received a change of orders and from the 7th September they changed from bombing RAF bases and radar stations to bombing London. This gave Fighter Command the breathing space they needed and by the 15th, the RAF were in greater shape than the previous week. The Luftwaffe's orders were simple. Total annihilation of the RAF and they were ready to launch the largest assault so far upon the City of London.
|Heinkel He 111 Bombers of the Luftwaffe|
I would like to close with a poem by John Gillespie Magee Jr, (9 June 1922 - 11 December 1941). He served with the Royal Canadian Air Force and was killed in an air collision over Lincolnshire. He wrote the sonnet High Flight a few months before his death.