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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Second Life’s Tribute to ‘The Few’ – RAF Station Biggin Hill 1940

Seventy years ago this week a deadly aerial combat was being fought out in the summer skies above southern England. The brave young pilots of the RAF were desperately fighting to prevent German Air Force bombers from delivering their destructive cargos to London. The Battle of Britain as it is now known was reaching its climax. Prime Minister Winston Churchill had made his stirring ‘so much owed by so many to so few’ speech and the Luftwaffe raiders were attempting to destroy the British fighter defence in the air and on the ground. Success was an absolute prerequisite for Operation Sea Lion, the imminent sea borne invasion of Britain planned for 14th of September.

Standing defiantly in the path of the nazi onslaught on the southeast edge of London, the RAF station at Biggin Hill was a prime target. A home to Spitfire and Hurricane equipped fighter squadrons, it was to become the most famous fighter base of the war. The free world watched with awe as it endured 12 devastating attacks, with the international press reporting the heroic deeds being performed to keep the airfield operational. Perhaps the most incredible bravery came from 3 women – Elspeth Henderson, Elizabeth Mortimer and Helen Turner, members of the WAAF who remained at their posts operating the telephones despite being told to go to the shelters. They all received the Military Medal, the first women to be so recognised with the award.

Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the RAF station at Biggin Hill ( has been recreated in Second Life as a tribute sim and appropriately it is commanded by a woman. Avatar Group Captain Gaius Luminos is also an SL businesswoman, a Senior Partner at The DrLife Skin Company and Owner of Chichi of London Women’s Fashion Stores. She explains that the purpose of the sim is to recreate classic air operations including Sorties, Dogfights and manoeuvres from The Battle of Britain conflict of the Royal Air Force and The Luftwaffe, circa 1940. She is a keen SL aviator herself and interested in the RL history of the Battle of Britain. Role played aerial combat is available both on the sim, and across the huge mainland Blake Sea area with which there is a convenient border.

The sim is an authentic 1940's vintage period build and pilots are welcomed to join the associated group and participate in combat flying and RP day to day station operations. Administrative ground staff and engineers would also be welcome, however all are requested to operate the correct equipment for the period and adopt appropriate clothing including dress uniforms and flying overalls. Retail space, hangarage and officers accommodation is also available for rental on the sim.

Thanks to the sacrifices made by those young pilots, German air superiority was not achieved, the invasion plans were thwarted and ultimately Germany would lose the war. This tribute to 'The Few’ and the ‘Other Few’ (the supporting personnel) who saved the Free World from Nazism is a volunteer operation, and relies on contributions to help keep their memory, their sacrifice, and their gift of freedom to us all alive. Please find time to pay a visit and show your grateful support!

Ed Follet


Janey Bracken said...

Wonderful article Ed, and a tribute to all those brave people, thank you so much!

Janey xx

Hibiscus said...

Ed, thank you so much for bringing the sim and the history behind it to our attention. I think this sim is a wonderful way to bring history to life so that people will understand and not forget what happened in the past. Great article!