An Appreciation of a Presentation by Dave Brocklehurst, M.B.E., and Simon Ralph of the Kent Battle of Britain Museum.
Our recent meeting on 17th March was very pleased to hear and see the work of the Kent Battle of Britain Museum at Hawkinge. Simon kicked off by explaining the role of the volunteer workers at the museum, of which he is one. It is clear they have a well organised team working behind the scenes to bring this marvellous museum to the public. In Simon’s case, it is his welding and engineering skills he brings to the site. Skilled people like Simon are on hand for the museum, but a plumber is currently sought to join the team of volunteers.
Dave’s presentation was a very comprehensive talk on all matters concerning the Battle of Britain itself, its veterans, those that didn’t survive and the hardware and materials of the battle itself. Delivered with passion for the subject, it was clear he has dedicated his life to remember The Few who fought for this country in 1940. His enthusiasm for the subject was inspiring.
The museum is home to several aircraft of the period, both replica and real. Several airframes that were created for the Battle of Britain Film are present in the collection, now being added to by one of only two Boulton Paul Defiant fighters, and a replica prototype Spitfire, which was once airworthy. It is powered by a Jaguar car engine and the airframe is made of wood. The plan is to have it running on special days at the museum in the future. Both aircraft have been kindly donated to the museum. The Defiant was built for a now closed Boulton Paul themed museum in Wolverhampton, partly original and part replica, it represents the only one of its types in day camouflage. The other at the Battle of Britain Museum at Hendon is painted black as a night fighter.
The museum is looking to expand further with more acreage of the old airfield earmarked for the purpose. With their clearly stated ambition, I’m sure they will. The last time I visited, there were no refreshments and food available on site. This has now been added, making your visit more enjoyable, comfortable and memorable.
We are so grateful for their time spent with us at Lympne Castle on Tuesday night.