In September 1946, the London Gazette published a despatch from Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh C T Dowding that was titled simply: The Battle of Britain. Written and submitted to the Air Ministry in 1941, this document became the very framework for the accepted Battle of Britain narrative which has been established across the following eighty years. Set out by the leader of the ‘Few’ himself, its authoritative tone could surely be considered a definitive outline of the battle, how it was fought and the eventual outcome. It even retrospectively set the dates for the commencement and conclusion of the campaign. In this work, Andy Saunders takes a critical look at Dowding’s despatch and analyses the facts and details contained in that important document. He also puts ‘flesh on the bones’ of the matters that the former commander-in-chief of RAF Fighter Command outlines, adding intriguing historical detail and perspective to the 1946 publication. Additionally, Andy looks at the behind-the-scenes machinations at the highest levels of government and Air Ministry before the despatch finally saw the light of day. As a historical document, Dowding’s London Gazette despatch is worthy of the critical analysis and factual expansion which the author provides in what is a uniquely different look at the Battle of Britain, with illustrations throughout.
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