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Open Daily 10am to 5pm

Battle of Britain Service

Battle of Britain Service

Battle of Britain Commemorative Service

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Time and venue to be confirmed.

 

 

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Come and join us at the Air Force Museum as we commemorate those who served in the skies over England during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

This service is also an opportunity to pause to remember all those who have lost their lives while in service with the Air Force, as well as those who continue to serve.

If you have any special mobility requirements, please contact us so we can ensure you are accommodated on the day.

This event is organised by the Canterbury Brevet Club.

Group of pilots from 'B' Flight, Number 32 Squadron, resting on the grass in front of one of their Hurricanes at Royal Air Force Station Hawkinge.  This is during the Battle of Britain. L-R: Pilot Officer RF Smythe, Pilot Officer K Gillman, Pilot Officer JE Proctor, Flight Lieutenant PM Brothers, Pilot Officer DH Grice, Pilot Officer PM Gardner, Pilot Officer AF Eckford. Image credit: Air Force Museum of New Zealand.
Group of pilots from 'B' Flight, Number 32 Squadron, resting on the grass in front of one of their Hurricanes at Royal Air Force Station Hawkinge. This is during the Battle of Britain. L-R: Pilot Officer RF Smythe, Pilot Officer K Gillman, Pilot Officer JE Proctor, Flight Lieutenant PM Brothers, Pilot Officer DH Grice, Pilot Officer PM Gardner, Pilot Officer AF Eckford. Image credit: Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

Each year, we commemorate the Battle of Britain, that epic battle which was waged between the Royal Air Force and German Luftwaffe in the skies over England in the summer of 1940. Most people are familiar with Sir Winston Churchill’s immortal words “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” and some will know that of the airmen who are recognised as being among those few, 80% came from Britain and of the rest, 23%, or about 135 men, came from New Zealand.

The New Zealanders came from all walks of life. There were 39 clerks of various types, 20 farmers, three postmen, two sailors, a neon sign erector and a cinema manager. They were public servants and they were tradesmen. Their average age in July 1940 was 23. The youngest was just 18 and the oldest a 32 year old Spitfire pilot. The majority were pilots, but there were also 34 air gunners and four observers. Half were among the 500 New Zealanders already serving in the Royal Air Force when war broke out; some of them veterans of the disastrous campaigns in France. The other half were new arrivals from the early RNZAF wartime training courses. Then, of course, there was World War One ace Air-Vice Marshal Keith Park, who was given scant credit at the time, but is now widely acknowledged as playing the most significant of roles in the British success.

Four New Zealand air gunners and 16 pilots died during the Battle of Britain and of those who survived, one third did not live to see the end of the War. 

Refreshments

Contact Café at the Museum will be open from 9.30 am - 4.30 pm.

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Visitor Services & Accessibility

Find out more about the facilities available during your visit.

Open daily from 10am to 5pm (except Christmas Day)
Entry to the Museum is free, donations are appreciated.

45 Harvard Ave, Wigram, Christchurch | 03 343 9532

We welcome visitors of all abilities

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