Maintained by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, the site at Capel-le-Ferne is dedicated to Churchill’s famous “Few” who fought in the skies overhead to keep this country free from invasion.
The Memorial itself inspires quiet reflection on the bravery and sacrifice shown by the aircrew - fewer than 3,000 men - who flew, fought and sometimes died in probably the most crucial battle fought by this country in the whole of the 20th century.
The Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall lists the names of all those who took part in the Battle of Britain, while a replica Spitfire and Hurricane stand nearby as a reminder of the iconic machines they flew to victory.
At the edge of the car park, greeting visitors to the site, is a low wall bearing Churchill’s famous comment: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”.
The wall was donated by the Beaverbrook Foundation in memory of all those
who fought in the Battle of Britain and was unveiled by Lady Aitken, Sir
Max Aitken’s widow, in July 1999. Sir Max commanded 601 Squadron during the
The Memorial, though is about the future as well as the past. Plans have been approved for The Wing, an important new visitor centre planned for the Memorial site. This high-tech exhibition and learning centre is designed to keep the memory of the veterans alive for many years to come.
Work on clearing the site has been carried out and archaeological investigations are due to start soon. Fund-raising is continuing so that work on the building itself can begin next year.
The memorial is free to visit and can be accessed on foot all day, every day.
Opening times for The Wing, which includes The Scramble Experience, The Geoffrey Page Centre, the shop, Cockpit cafe and toilets, are as follows:
1 March to 31 May, 10am - 5pm (last entry to the Experience/cafe purchase 4.30pm);
1 June to 30 September, 10am - 6pm (last entry to the Experience/cafe purchase 5.30pm);
1 October to 28 February, 10am - 4pm (last entry to the Experience/cafe purchase 3.30pm).
The site can also be opened on request for school visits or on other occasions and there are KS2 and KS3 worksheets available for school parties. See contact section for how to get in touch.
The site is approached from either Dover or Folkestone on the B2011 at Capel-le-Ferne.
The idea for a National Memorial to The Few came from one of their number. Wing Commander Geoffrey Page had been a 20-year-old Hurricane pilot with 56 Squadron in the Battle.
On 12 August 1940 Pilot Officer Page was shot down and baled out into the sea with terrible burns. He went on to become a founding member of the Guinea Pig Club for RAF personnel treated at the Queen Victoria Hospital by the team of plastic surgeons led by Archie McIndoe.
Determination and courage ensured that Geoffrey returned to operational flying, becoming a wing leader. He was awarded the DFC and bar and at the time he received the DSO in 1944 he was credited with having destroyed 15 enemy aircraft. A crash late in the war seriously injured him again and he returned to East Grinstead.
Years later, Geoffrey realised to his astonishment that there was no memorial to his comrades who had flown with him in Fighter Command in 1940.
His determination that The Few should be remembered found a focus at “Hellfire Corner”, the area of Dover and Folkestone over which so much of the fighting had taken place in 1940. The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust was established and fund raising began.
On July 9 1993, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother opened the National Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne to see Geoffrey’s dream realised. He died in August 2000, shortly after attending the Memorial Day marking the 60th anniversary of the Battle.
Some of the Few at the 60th Anniversary of the
Battle of Britain
The Last Post We Will RememberTthem