Skip Navigation


Tour Salutes Battle of Britain 'Many'

Published: 15 Sep 2015   updated: 01 Apr 2016

Organisers of the forthcoming Battle of Britain 75th anniversary concert tour by the Bands of the Royal Air Force say they plan to look beyond the bravery of the 'The Few' to recognise the role of others who contributed directly to victory and the many who supported them in Britain's finest hour.

As well as saluting the heroism and courage of the Allied airmen, numbering fewer than 3,000, who took part in the Battle, the concert tour, which begins at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury on October 17 and ends at the Lighthouse in Poole on December 10, will turn the spotlight on those who contributed directly to securing victory in 1940, as part of the fighting capability of Fighter Command, and the many others who also contributed indirectly to victory.

Among them were the men and women who operated a complex system for detecting enemy aircraft and controlling the Allied response. Named the 'Dowding System' after its chief architect Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, it was an elaborate and extensive system that allowed commanders to control the ebb and flow of battle and ensure RAF fighters were in the right place at the right time.

The lynchpin of the system was the Filter Centre. The centre compiled a recognised air picture from large amounts of information received from the radar system and Observer Corp reports. This picture was not only used by commanders to fight the battle but also queued other important defensive systems comprising Anti Aircraft Artillery, searchlights, and barrage balloon operators.

Featuring the Band of the RAF College, the Band of the RAF Regiment and the Central Band of the RAF,  the concerts will include rousing military marches, popular songs from the era, plus big band numbers and classical pieces that will serve as a musical tribute to all those who participated in the Battle of Britain.

The concert, which will also feature dramatic historical and modern day footage of the RAF on a large screen at most venues, is staged in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. Compering on the tour will be shared by BBC radio broadcasters Ken Bruce, Alan Dedicoat and Lynn Bowles.

A spokesman for the concert tour said: "Whilst the incredible achievements of The Few should never be forgotten, it's important that we remember the many others who played both decisive and key supporting roles during the Battle such as those in Fighter Command involved in directing the battle. Also those who were at the forefront of sustaining national resilience - civil defence, fire fighting, air raid wardens and rescue."

Further details and ticket information here

“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Formula 1 Racing Driver

“Probably the most complete air show Iíve ever been to!”

Al Worden, Apollo 15 Astronaut

Sign up for emails about the Air Tattoo, Concerts and Merchandise