Sunday 15th September, 1940; a date that will live for ever in military history. The day the Luftwaffe made its final, massive effort to defeat the RAF, and pave the way for Hitler's invasion of England. The day the tremendous air battles between the RAF and the Luftwaffe came to a climax - when every single man and machine in Fighter Command climbed into battle. The day Churchill was told: 'There are no reserves!'
Robert Taylor's outstanding painting 'Hurricane Force' puts us right into the midst of the Battle of Britain, some 12,000 feet over London, with the Hurricanes of 257 Squadron as they tear into a mass of Heinkel III Bombers and escorting Me109's. In the foreground a Hurricane pilot reefs his machine
around having knocked out one of the enemy; his wingman targets another. In the background and below, the fighting is everywhere. The whole sky is embroiled in a mass of aerial warfare. In the thick of the heaviest fighting, the brute force quality of the go-anywhere do-anything Hurricane is seen at its best, its pilots wreaking havoc amongst the massed formations of enemy raiders.
The huge aerial contests of the Battle of Britain inevitably developed into a series of individual fights: one-on-one duels, squadron versus squadron. The British pilots, their confidence and morale on the upsurge from recent successes, had the fight of their lives. By the afternoon of 18th September the massed attacks by the Luftwaffe had been routed, and one by one, as the British returned to their bases, the significance of their victory began to dawn upon the sweat-soaked exhilarated pilots of the RAF. They had won the Battle of Britain!