When we visited Kent last October we found a few hidden gems to explore. You may remember my recent post on the Louis Blériot Memorial where we learnt about the first Channel flight. Well, today I’m sharing our visit to the National Memorial to the Few in Capel-le-Ferne, between Folkestone and Dover.
We’d spent the day travelling on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway and I’d spotted the sign for The Battle of Britain Memorial on our way back to St Margaret’s Bay. Time for a little detour for our aviation fans.
The National Memorial to the Few is another site which is free to visit, the car park, shop and cafe are only open from March to October, but the site itself is open all year round and can be accessed on foot.
We had no idea what to expect but it was well worth a little excursion at the end of a day out.
The National Memorial to the Few celebrates the bravery of the men who fought during the Battle of Britain and is sited right on the cliffside at Capel-le-Ferne. We visited on a rather dull and dreary October day, but on a sunny afternoon, I bet the view is rather more wonderful.
The memorial itself features a pilot staring out to sea and there are three propeller blades cut into the cliffside, in white brickwork.
My photos don’t really do the overall effect justice, but I bet from the air it looks rather more impressive.
It was really quite poignant to stand by the pilot and think of those men, who helped to keep us safe from invasion. The base of the memorial features the various badges of the squadrons who took part in the Battle of Britain.
Monkey was getting a little tired after a busy day, but that didn’t stop him wanting to have a good look round the replica aircraft on display. Look, Daddy!
The National Memorial to the Few includes the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall which lists all those who flew under RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain.
We even found someone with the same surname as Daddy P – the family historian in me made sure I’d written the name down before we left (you never know!). We showed Monkey the different planes that took part in the battle. He’s seen Spitfires and Hurricane’s before and is becoming quite knowledgeable for a little boy!
You might remember this photo from a previous #bwphotoproject – the statue of Air Chief Marshall Sir Keith Park.
We were all in need of something to warm us up so we headed into the cafe for a cup of tea. The team there were really friendly and we asked them about the new Wing Visitor Centre which was being built while we were there, and actually opens on Saturday 28th March 2015. The new building looked amazing, even half-built in October. It will be shaped like the wing of a Spitfire and will open ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain later this year.
The Wing is not a museum but houses The Scramble Experience, a hands-on attraction that uses audio-visual effects, a video wall and other special techniques to show something of what it was like for the Few in the summer and early autumn of 1940.
The National Memorial to the Few is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area, and it’s somewhere we’ll revisit the next time we’re in Kent.