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"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
It was on September 15th 1940 when there was a massive Luftwaffa attack. .He looked at the indicator board in the bunker that showed all the 11 Group and 12 Group fighter squadrons in the air. He asked the AOC 11 group Keith Park "where are your reserves"? Keith Park replied, "Sir we have none".
The country was on it's knees with the bulk of the army beaten back and standing in the sea at Dunkirk getting back to England without their vehicles and weapons. A German invasion would have followed with well equipped, trained and battle hardened troops up against, no doubt very brave, poorly equipped troops and the Home Guard equipped with caring knives on broomsticks.
The invasion was dependent on destroying the RAF first which was a close run thing but the RAF won the battle but the losses were very heavy. I think there are only 5 members of the "few" left alive now so they are indeed the few!
I was in France a year ago - they do it slightly differently there.
"the few" applies to ALL who served Britain during the Second World War AndyI'm sure it seems to us, now that so few remain, that only a "few" took part - but at the time I'm sure it felt far from that. It was "total war" with just about everyone at the time, civilian was well as military, making some significant contribution (voluntarily or otherwise). Even my mother (6 years old at the time) had to give up her family to be 'evacuated' to strangers hundreds of miles from home.
These days, even during this pandemic, it's difficult to appreciate quite how lucky we really are.
I thought that quote was referring to the Battle of Britain (1940) rather than VE day (1945).
It was referring to the 1940 R.A.F. contribution, but the spirit of "the few" applies to ALL who served Britain during the Second World War Andy. I am sure that you know that. Without the decisive win during the Battle of Britain we would no doubt not have had a V.E. Day.