Page 31. " The lecturer was frightened by the Focke-Wulf 190 "
Focke-Wulf Fw 190
Public DomainFocke-Wulf Fw 190 - Credit: US Goverment

The Focke-Wulf 190 was introduced in 1941, and soon proved itself superior in most respects to the existing Spitfire models.  The RAF remained at a serious disadvantage until the development of the Spitfire Mk. IX in the autumn 1942.

Designed by Germany's illustrious Professor Kurt Tank, the Focke-Wulf 190 would prove invaluable to British fighter designers when a Luftwaffe pilot defected with one of the planes.

More on the Focke-Wulf 190


Page 33. " those who had fought in the Battle of Britain "


Luftwaffe Preparations in France
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLuftwaffe Preparations in France - Credit: Deutsches Bundesarchiv

Hitler ordered the invasion of Britain in July 1940 under the name Operation Sealion.  For the invasion to succeed, German air superiority was necessary, and so wave after wave of Luftwaffe bombers and fighters were dispatched to break Fighter Command in the skies over Southern England.  An estimated 4,074 Luftwaffe aircraft flew against less than half as many RAF and Allied planes.


Winston Churchill coined the name given to the world's first exclusively aerial campaign.  On 18 June 1940, he used the phrase in a famous speech in the House of Commons:

Heinkel He 111s in the Battle of Britain
Public DomainHeinkel He 111s in the Battle of Britain - Credit: Crown Copyright
 What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian 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 freed 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'.


Never was so much owed
Public DomainNever was so much owed - Credit: Crown Copyright

At the height of the Battle, on 20 August 1940, Winston Churchill honoured the contribution and sacrifice of Fighter Command with the words:

RAF Pilots Scrambled
Public DomainRAF Pilots Scrambled - Credit: Crown Copyright
 The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All our hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day.

Pilots who fought in the Battle have been known as The Few ever since.

View from Spitfire firing on Heinkel
Public DomainView from Spitfire firing on Heinkel - Credit: Crown Copyright

The Battle of Britain lasted from July until October 1940. In July most battles were fought over the English Channel, but in August the Luftwaffe targeted British airfields. By September they had changed tactics again and started bombing British cities.  The Blitz had begun.

As a result of the Luftwaffe's failure to defeat the RAF in 1940, Hitler abandoned his invasion plans and turned his attention - most unwisely - to Russia.

Battle of Britain Day in the UK is on 15 September.

RAF History Site

History Learning Site

Film -  The Battle of Britain


Page 36. " When she was a girl her father had taken the family to France and pointed out the million-acre graveyards of the British dead. "
British Graves at Pozières
Creative Commons AttributionBritish Graves at Pozières - Credit: audi_insperation, Flickr

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission builds and maintains war graves to commemorate those who have fallen in battle in the commonwealth.

British War Graves in France

Britain lost close to a million soldiers in World War I.  France, Austria, Germany and Russia each suffered even greater losses.  Turkey lost over 700,000.  Italy, fighting with Britain and France, lost 650,000. 

WWI Casualties

Many of the graves pictured belong to unidentified soldiers.

Page 39. " He’s just got to be in Dartmouth for a week. "

Britannia Royal Naval College
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBritannia Royal Naval College - Credit: Herbythyme, Wikimedia
The Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, now called the Britannia Royal Naval College is where Royal Navy officers receive their initial training.

Terence would not have been able to instruct there much longer.  In September 1942, the college was bombed, and officer training was then conducted at Eaton Hall in Cheshire until 1946.

Page 40. " Ever heard of Make-do and Mend? "


Make-Do and Mend
Public DomainMake-Do and Mend - Credit: Crown Copyright

Clothing rationing was introduced in Britain in Spring 1941.  Much of the available cloth was needed for uniforms, tents and parachutes.  The Make-do and Mend pamphlet encouraged people to repair existing clothes and to look after them more carefully. 

Fashion-conscious women adapted existing clothing to meet the latest trends.

The pamphlet was released in 1943, a year after this episode - a small research slip, perhaps?

 Make-do and Mend, Imperial War Museum, London

Buy a copy of the Pamphlet


Clothing Exchange
Public DomainClothing Exchange - Credit: Imperial War Museum, London


Page 46. " Are they in the Occupied Zone? "


Vichy and Occupied France
GNU Free Documentation LicenseVichy and Occupied France - Credit: Eric Gaba & Rama, Wikimedia

After the Fall of France in June 1940, the country was divided into the Occupied Zone controlled by the German Army, and the Free Zone governed by the Vichy regime of Marshal Philippe Pétain.  A small Italian Occupation Zone was established in the southeast.


See the Setting page for more information.