Battle of Britain Monument - History and Facts | History Hit

Battle of Britain Monument

London, England, United Kingdom

Unveiled by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in September 2005 on the Victoria Embankment, the Battle of Britain Monument by sculptor Paul Day is dedicated to everyone – airmen, support personnel and civilians – who took part in one of the most famous battles in the history of warfare.

Lily Johnson

16 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Battle of Britain Monument

The Battle of Britain Monument on Victoria Embankment is a spectacular, 25-metre wide monument created by sculptor Paul Day. It was unveiled by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in September 2005 on the 65th anniversary of one of the most famous battles in history.

Battle of Britain Monument history

The Battle of Britain took place between 10 July and 31 October, 1940, and was one of the most important British victories of the Second World War. Over the course of 3 months, the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy successfully defended the skies above Britain from large-scale attacks by the German Luftwaffe.

British defeat would have likely resulted in a German invasion from the newly-captured ports of France, instilling the Battle of Britain as a key moment in the war. The superior equipment of the British airforce coupled with the Germans’ lack of a consistent plan of action led to the latter’s defeat however, with almost double the amount of Luftwaffe to RAF planes shot down in the first month. The eventual British victory prevented a naval invasion by Hitler, and helped to ensure the future success of the Allies in the war.

Largely funded by private donations, the Battle of Britain Monument was conceived by Bill Bond, founder of the Battle of Britain Historical Society. The containing structure previously served as a smoke outlet for steam-powered underground trains, yet following its disuse was utilised as the base of the monument. The monument’s bronze centrepiece was cast at the Morris Singer Foundry, the same foundry that cast Landseer’s lions that sit at the base of Nelson’s Column.

Battle of Britain Monument today

Opened in 2005, the 25-metre wide monument was purposely built ‘at people level’ so passers-by could interact with it. A series of friezes depict scenes from the battle as well as scenes from both military and civilian life at that time, while all airmen credited with flying combat missions during the battle are inscribed on bronze plaques.

Across the bottom reads a quote from one of Winston Churchill’s most famous speeches, epitomising the significance of the battle: ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’

The stunningly detailed bronze centrepiece is entitled ‘Scramble’, and depicts the rush of pilots to their planes, ready to intercept enemy aircraft intent on destroying London. With its picturesque position alongside the Thames, the monument provides a moment of contemplation and appreciation for those who fought and died in the first battle to take place entirely by air force.

Getting to the Battle of Britain Monument

The Battle of Britain Monument is located on Victoria Embankment in London. The nearest Underground station is Westminster, a 4-minute walk away, while the nearest train station is Waterloo, a 20-minute walk away. A number of buses stop nearby, with the closest stops at Westminster Pier, a 2-minute walk away, and the Banqueting House, a 7-minute walk away.

Featured In

Battle of Britain Historic Sites

These historical sites linked to the Battle of Britain bring visitors close to historic aircraft and remarkable stories from a critical event of World War Two.

London Historic Sites

Londinium, The Big Smoke, The Great Wen: London has experienced its fair share of change over its 2000-year history. Here's our pick of some of the British capital's most famous historic sites to visit today.