Before 2005, there was no monument anywhere in the world that captured all the names of “the few”.
The Battle of Britain London Monument, unveiled by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall on Sept. 18, 2005 changed that. More than 24 metres long, about two metres high and two metres wide, its panels carry the names of all who fought in the Battle of Britain. It is located on the Victoria Embankment near Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.
The bronze reliefs, by the sculptor Paul Day, are staggered either side of a walkway. The central feature of the relief facing the road represents pilots scrambling for their aircraft. The men and women of the ground crews, radar systems, aircraft production, rescue services and the civilian population are also captured in bronze.
In autumn 2006, the monument “visited” Canada. Full-scale terra cotta models of two of the panels were carefully airlifted to Canada in late September by a CC-150 Polaris (Airbus A310), where they were exhibited the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto from October 26, 2006 to January 15, 2007. The sculptures were airlifted back to England in late January.
“This is a very expensive project to mount and airlift because of the sheer size of the monument,” Sue Jeffries, the museum’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Ceramics, said at the time. “So to have that taken care of by the Air Force is wonderful and it’s a perfect fit. I just love the whole tie-in between the Air Force, the Gardiner Museum, and the history of our Canadian pilots who fought so nobly in the Battle of Britain. People just don’t know about the Canadian involvement so we are thrilled to be able to tell this story.”