As a kid, I and my friends who were interested in World War 2 were enthralled and excited when the movie The Battle of Britain came out. I recall going to public library in order to read up on the time period when Britain stood virtually alone against the Nazis. The out numbered but never out flown RAF defeated Herman Goering’s claims that Britain could be defeated by the Luftwaffe alone.
The real stars of the movie were not the actors although there were some of the greatest British around in the film. The real stars were the airplanes and it was that fact that excited me and my friends.
The movie was made in the 60’s, a time when computer generated graphics wasn’t even in anyone’s imagination.
So how do you make a movie that features WW2 airplanes if the originals are hard to find?
At the time there enough Spitfires and Hurricanes still around to cover the British side. The German aircraft on the other hand were hard to find except for the fact that the Spanish Air Force still had a number of Ju-88’s, He-111’s and Me-109’s that they were willing to lend to the movie makers. And so they did and the producers made a movie featuring re-enacted dogfights with real aircraft, just as they looked in 1940.
The excitement of seeing real British and German airplanes reenact the Battle over Britain in August 1940 simply was marvelous experience for me and my friends and I think the movie stands as a classic with its excellent British cast that stars real airplanes from the period.
I was therefore happy to see that twenty WW2 Spitfires have been found in Burma (35 WW2 era Spitfires are still flying worldwide). Apparently, they had been crated and shipped to Burma, but never used because the war ended. The famous airplanes had been stored and preserved against the elements until rediscovered by a wealthy British air enthusiast.
Sadly, there is controversy as to who will end up with the planes but hopefully they will be restored and drive the total to 55 of still flying Spitfires.