MILLENNIALS think the Battle of Britain was a Viking invasion, a general election or a First World War naval battle.
Most have no idea that Britain’s “finest hour” started 80 years ago today.
The Royal Air Force beat Hitler’s Luftwaffe in a battle for air superiority and saw off the threat of a Nazi invasion.
Winston Churchill praised the pilots when he said: ‘Never in the field of human conflict, was so much owed, by so many, to so few.”
Only a quarter of 18-24 year olds knew “the few” referred to Britain’s outnumbered air crews, according to research by the RAF Benevolent Fund.
The UK had around 600 fighters, including Spitfires and Hurricanes, to see off more than four times as many German Junker bombers and Messerschmitts.
Two thirds of young adults confused the Battle of Britain with other historical events, including viking raids and the Civil War.
Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, head of the RAF charity, said: “It is vital the sacrifice of the few and all who supported them is remembered and marked by all generations.
“Many people were involved, not just fighter pilots…so, it’s likely that many grandparents or great-grandparents could have played a role.”
The attack started with bombing raids against merchant shipping on July 10, 1940.
It soon spread to airfields, aircraft factories and radar installations, which were mostly in the south east of England.
Hitler had planned to invade on September 3, but the operation codenamed Sea Lion was delayed and eventually cancelled on Oct 12, 1940 when he realised they had failed to gain air superiority.
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