by Felix Richter, Statista.com
— this post authored by Niall McCarthy
Today marks Battle of Britain Day in the United Kingdom, a day when people across the UK are encouraged to reflect on the sacrifices made by Royal Air Force pilots defending British skies in 1940.
Churchill put it well when he said: “never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few“. 2,424 British pilots flew against the Luftwaffe during that summer in 1940 and 452 were killed.
Many foreign pilots fought in the battle and a Polish squadron, no. 303 “KoÅ›ciuszko”, claimed the largest number of kills. They joined the fray two months after it began, shooting down 126 aircraft in 6 weeks. Many historians believe that the battle could not have been won without the foreign pilots and that the contribution of the Poles and Czechs was particularly vital. 141 Polish pilots took part in the Battle of Britain and 29 lost their lives. Britain owes its immigrants a debt of gratitude and amid an air of anger and uncertainty post-Brexit, their decisive intervention at the nation’s darkest hour in 1940 seems to be long forgotten by some.
This chart shows non-British aircrew who served and died in the Battle of Britain.
You will find more statistics at Statista.