Royal unveiling for Lord Dowding tribute at Battle of Britain Memorial near Folkestone

Contributed by editor on May 31, 2017 - 08:40 AM


A tribute to one of the country’s most visionary leaders during the Battle of Britain is to be unveiled by His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent GCVO during a short ceremony at Capel-le-Ferne today, Wednesday 31 May.


The bust of Lord Dowding, the man who, as Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, led RAF Fighter Command throughout the Battle of Britain in 1940, has been commissioned by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.

It has been carved by Will Davies, the sculptor who created the bust of Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park, and will sit alongside that carving, unveiled in October 2010 at the Capel-le-Ferne home of the National Memorial to the Few.

HRH Prince Michael is Patron of the Trust and will unveil the tribute to Lord Dowding at 11.30am. He will then meet members of the Trust, along with staff, volunteers and some donors. Wing Commander Paul Farnes DFM, a member of the Few, is expected to attend.

The bust is the latest development at the Memorial, where a new visitor centre, The Wing, was unveiled in 2015 by Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Refurbishment work to convert the old visitor centre, Hunting Lodge, into a library and resource centre is currently underway, while extra car parking is also being created to cope with the number of visitors to this popular place of pilgrimage.

In paying tribute to Lord Dowding and Sir Keith Park, the Trust is recognising that their brilliant leadership and determination ensured that there would not be an invasion of Britain in the Second World War.

Dowding was at the head of Fighter Command following its formation in 1936 and was responsible for this country’s air defence system, including radio direction finding (radar), Observer Corps posts and control rooms. It was these innovations, together with the heroism of the aircrew and those who supported them, which led to the RAF’s victory in arguably the country’s most important battle of the last century.

Lord Dowding died in 1970 at his home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. His ashes were buried in the RAF Chapel at Westminster Abbey, where members of The Few have traditionally paid tribute to him every September.

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