'The Hardest Day' - 80th anniversary
On the 18th August, we will be remembering the devastating air raids that took place 80 years ago, killing 10 of RAF Kenley's personnel, as well as further casualties in the surrounding area.
The writer, Virginia Woolf was probably one of the most famous witnesses to the incoming raid, which passed close to her house near Lewes, in Sussex.
"Monday 19 August 1940 – Yesterday, 18th, there was a roar. Right on top of us they came. I looked at the plane, like a minnow at a roaring shark...... The closest shave so far."
The Luftwaffe launched three major assaults across the south-east of England, intending to cripple the RAF's Fighter Command for good in preparation for an invasion of Britain. The 18th August became known as 'The Hardest Day' because it marked the largest number of aircraft put out of action on a single day of The Battle of Britain.
Despite bearing the brunt of precisely targeted low-level bombing, RAF Kenley stood firm and was back in action the following day.
We have added several new articles about 'The Hardest Day' to the Kenley Revival website, including this Introduction and Casualty list, which aims to explain the raids, link together the material that we have collected and remember those who lost their lives.
On 18th August, St. Lukes Church, Whyteleafe, will be open from 10am to midday for those wishing to pay respects or offer prayers - six of the men who lost their lives at RAF Kenley on 18th August 1940, are buried in the churchyard.
Please remember to bring a mask.
More information here.
Photo: One of No.615 Squadron's Hurricanes damaged on the ground at Kenley, 18/8/1940.