We need to be careful how we judge and who we celebrate. The triumph of the gospel is never just the victory of ‘The Few,’ but of the whole body working together. We need to know that our contributions, however small and insignificant they might seem, matter.
This month marks the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, arguably the key turning point in the war, since it ensured that the British Empire would continue to stand against Nazi Germany rather than surrender or join France in negotiating an armistice.
As we look back, it is natural to ask who was responsible for the victory? Certainly ‘The Few’ – the 3000 men who fought in the battle in the air. Behind them, though, were the ground crew, plotters, radar operators, spotters, AA batteries, the commanders of Fighter Command, Winston Churchill stiffening the nation’s resolve in its ‘Darkest Hour’, the companies manufacturing the Spitfires and Hurricanes, and their designers, R J Mitchell and Sir Sidney Camm.
In the end, the Battle of Britain was won as a result of numerous individual contributions, some high profile and well know, others near invisible.
One such hidden contribution was revealed this week. Hazel Hill was a 13-year old schoolgirl who, in 1934, played a part in laying the groundwork for the victory. She helped her father do the maths that demonstrated that the Hurricane and Spitfire should be fitted with eight machine guns rather than the intended four. Only this would give them a good chance of bringing enemy aircraft down. Despite everything that we have seen in the films, the fighters only carried enough ammunition for a 14-second burst, and it was essential that enough damage was done in this short time. Her work helped her father to pursuance the Air Ministry to change the specification, and the rest is history.