Historic RAF Biggin Hill
Close to the London/Kent border, is London Biggin Hill Airport – far better known by its historic name of RAF Biggin Hill.
RAF Biggin Hill was one of the RAF Fighter Command stations from which Spitfires and Hurricanes flew to defend the skies of Britain during World War Two from the onslaught of the German Air Force – The Luftwaffe. German military commanders knew that, without the destruction of the Royal Air Force, the invasion of Britain could not go ahead.
The Royal Air Force left in the 1990s, but the legendary name lives on in the Battle of Britain Museum and the Biggin Hill Spitfire Factory. During World War Two’s Battle of Britain, the pilots of the RAF, famously called “The Few” by wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, held back the onslaught of enemy aircraft enough to give the United Kingdom breathing space to stay in the fight.
Of course, the pilots were nothing without serviceable aircraft and enemy targets to hunt. To keep aircraft in the air, control them and take the fight to the enemy required a huge organisation.
Never was so much owed by so many to so fewWinston Churchill, Prime Minister, 20th August 1940
The RAF Chapel of Remembrance
The pilots flying in the Battle of Britain were a diverse group. A majority were British with substantial numbers from Poland, Holland, France, Norway, America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand along with many other countries and parts of the British Empire.
The museum is a new addition to Biggin Hill, the RAF Chapel of Remembrance being opened in the 1950s with beautiful stained glass windows.
Fighter Command Battle Honours
- Battle of Britain
- Pas De Calais
The 360 Virtual Tour lets you see the Chapel from all angles, just like Google Street View.
Biggin Hill Heritage Hanger
To see a Spitfire or Hurricane up close, a tour of the Biggin Hill Spitfire Factory is essential. Tours of the Spitfire Factory, which must be pre-booked, give plenty of time for photography and questions. The Spitfire Factory sell flights in the historic aircraft, although the price reflects maintenance costs.
As luck would have it whilst was visiting, a Spitfire was rolled out and took off on a training flight. This was an added bonus as it is not a guaranteed part of the tour. The Spitfire was the Biggin Hill Spitfire Factory’s two seat Spitfire T.9 MJ627.
The Spitfire Factory’s viewing area gives a great vantage, using a big zoom, to catch the aircraft at take off. Taken with a 400mm zoom using a full frame camera, the aircraft was 650 metres away. Canary Wharf’s tower blocks were 12.5 miles. in the distance and clearly shows the elevation of Biggin Hill.
Spitfire in flight seen from the viewing area immediately after wheels up, the blue sky adding to the picture.