Some data points of interest in a time of a biblical struggle between Britain and Germany.
23-May-40 THU King George requested following Sunday be observed as National Day of Prayer
24-May-40 FRI Wehrmacht stops advance outside Dunkirk
26-May-40 SUN National Day of Prayer.
27-May-40 MON Operation Dynamo 7669 rescued
28-May-40 TUE Operation Dynamo 17804 rescued
29-May-40 WED Operation Dynamo 47310 rescued
30-May-40 THU Operation Dynamo 53823 rescued
31-May-40 FRI Operation Dynamo 68014 rescued
01-Jun-40 SAT Operation Dynamo 64429 rescued
02-Jun-40 SUN Operation Dynamo 26256 rescued
03-Jun-40 MON Operation Dynamo 26746 rescued
04-Jun-40 TUE Operation Dynamo 26175 rescued
Over 9 days 338,226 rescued (98,671 from Beaches, 239,555 from Harbour)
The spitfire entered service on 4 August 1938 (19 Squadron, RAF Duxford). At the start of the Battle of Britain the RAF had in total 749 fighters, of which less than 300 were Spitfires.
A giant purpose built factory was built to manufacture Spitfires at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham. Construction begun in 1938 and the original schedule was for a production of 240 per month starting in April 1940, but by May 1940, zero had been completed (stressed-skin construction required precision engineering skills and techniques beyond capabilities of local labour). In June 1940 only 10 were built, in September only 56 but production eventually reached 320 per month, ending in June 1945 when a total of 12,129 had been built at Castle Bromwich. (20,334 Spitfires were built in Total)
High speed diving trials used the Spitfire because it had the highest limiting Mach number of any contemporary aircraft. Testing a Spitfire In April 1944, Squadron Leader Anthony F. Martindale, dived to Mach 0.92 (the fastest ever recorded in a piston-engined aircraft). The propeller and reduction gear broke off and the Spitfire, now tail-heavy, zoom-climbed causing Martindale to black out under an 11g loading. When he resumed consciousness, he found the aircraft at about 40,000 feet with its (originally straight) wings now slightly swept back. He successfully glided the Spitfire 20 miles back to his airfield. Martindale was subsequently awarded the Air Force Cross. As of 2020, some 70 Spitfires are still airworthy (along with 12 Hurricanes.)
Battle of Britain
Jun - Sep 1940 Pilots KIA
RAF 1822 339
Fleet Air Arm 56 9
Australia 21 14
NZ 73 11
Canada 88 20
South Africa 21 9
Rhodesia 2 0
Irish 8 0
USA 7 1
Poland 141 29
Czechoslovakia 86 8
Belgium 26 6
France 13 0
Israel 1 0
Total 2365 446
Winston Churchill speeches
13-May-40 MON "Blood, toil, tears and sweat"
04-Jun-40 TUE "We shall fight on the beaches"
18-Jun-40 TUE (start of Battle of Britain): "This was their finest hour"