British Monument Will Honor WWII Pilots
We've all heard Winston Churchill's memorable tribute to the airmen who fought in the Battle of Britain: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Now, 63 years after that fateful assault, when the Royal Air Force warded off a German invasion of Britain, plans are laid for a monument to be erected on the Victoria Embankment above the Thames River. A model for a sculpture that will be part of the monument was unveiled Tuesday, showing pilots scrambling to their planes. In the summer of 1940, Germany's forces had more than 2,000 aircraft. To stop them, Britain had only 531 Hurricane and Spitfire fighters. Fewer than a third of the pilots, most of them young men 20 to 25 years old, could be classified as experienced. The RAF lost more than 400 pilots, but the battle is seen as a turning point in World War II -- it was Hitler's first defeat. The monument will list the names of all the pilots who fought in the battle. Organizers hope to complete the project by September 2004.