Bunker proves bumper success with visitors

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Weekend opening of an attraction which gives visitors a glimpse of how Britain fought off the Luftwaffe has proved a success and is likely to be repeated next year.

The Battle of Britain Bunker at RAF Uxbridge in west London was the command centre for No 11 Group, which saw the most action of the four Fighter Command groups because of its location in the south-east of England.

During the Battle of Britain, Fighter Command destroyed 1,733 enemy aircraft, of which No 11 Group was responsible for more than two-thirds.

It was at the end of his visit to the bunker on August 16, 1940, that Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke the now famous words: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed, by so many, to so few.”

He said the phrase as he got into his car, close to the entrance of the Bunker, then repeated them in the House of Commons on August 20.

The success of the RAF pilots led Hitler to postpone his planned invasion of the UK, Operation Sealion, indefinitely.

The attraction, which features a restored operations room and accompanying museum, opened at weekends on a trial basis in March, with the experiment running until the end of this month.

Curator Daniel Stirland said: “Visitors come from all over the UK and abroad. The trial has gone very well and we are almost certainly going to do it again next year as well.”