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Find My Past: The Battle of Britain – 3rd November 2011


Published on 4 Nov 2011 13:18 : find my past tv : 1 comment : 1522 views

The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces. From July 1940 coastal shipping convoys and shipping centres were the main targets until the Luftwaffe shifted its attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure. As the battle progressed the Luftwaffe also targeted aircraft factories and ground infrastructure.

Germany's failure to destroy Britain's air defences or force Britain into negotiating an armistice or an outright surrender, is considered its first major defeat and one of the crucial turning points in the war.

This week's episode of Find My Past focuses on the ancestors of Alex, Jamie and Tim - All of their ancestors played a part in the Battle of Britain in one way or another.

Alex is just 23 years old and was born in the same year his grandfather died, so he knows very little about him. Alex learns that his grandfather, Robert Oxspring, was a pilot and part of the 66 Squadron that fought of the Luftwaffe. A first-hand account of his grandfather's experiences can be found in the book '10 Fighter Boys', a collection of memories and experiences from 10 pilots.

Jamie is in his early 20's and learning about his great-great Aunt Marjorie. Marjorie was a W.A.A.F plotter and had a very important and stressful job. It was Marjorie's responsibility to receive radio communications detailing hostile formations and to plot these on a map so that 66 Squadron would know where to go and what to expect. Jamie is extremely proud of his great aunt and is visibly in awe of her ability to cope under such pressure after trying to have a go at 'plotting' himself!

Lastly we meet Tim. Tim's uncle, Claude Parsons, was also a pilot in 66 Squadron and would have been friends with Alex's grandfather Robert. Tim goes to visit Jimmy, the last surviving member of 66 Squadron who is the grand old age of 96! Jimmy remembers Claude and Robert well, he tells stories of playing cards and being relieved every day that you came home. However, Jimmy has some sad and interesting news for Tim. Jimmy was on his way to duty one day when he was told to have a day's rest and Claude Parsons was sent instead. Claude Parsons never returned from his flight that day. Tim is visibly saddened by this news, but also very proud of the uncle who gave his life for his country.

Tim, Jamie and Alex all meet in the last few minutes of the episode not knowing how they are linked by the actions of their ancestors. Jamie's great-great Aunt was responsible for directing both Tim's uncle and Alex's grandfather in their spitfires towards hostile formations. An amazing connection and example of how ordinary people became heroes!

Find My Past - It''s on every Thursday at 9pm on the YeSTERDAY channel - 12 on freeview, 537 on Sky and 203 on Virgin. You can also see it here too - http://www.tvcatchup.com/.

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by Marys on 26 Nov 2011 14:35 :
Please can you let me know if you find any information about Richard George Drew born 27 July 1913, thank you. Daughter Mary Drew.