Menu Donate Request our help

Helpline: 0800 169 2942

"We were issued with revolvers and about 15 rounds"

Battle of Britain veteran Squadron Leader Nigel Rose recalls the atmosphere in Britain following the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk in June 1940.

He describes how people believed that they needed to 'prepare for some form of invasion'.

"Hitler gave due warning that he was getting his side ready to come over the Channel."

Rose had joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve at Southampton in December 1938 "to impress a girl".

He began his flying training at Hamble and had logged 87 hours before being called up immediately after the outbreak of war in September 1939.

He completed his training in June 1940 and was posted to 602 Squadron in Drem in Scotland. In August 1940 he moved down to Westhampnett, a satellite airfield of Tangmere, near Chichester in West Sussex, just as the German air attack was building in intensity and the Battle of Britain entering its most crucial period.

The possibility of an imminent invasion seemed highly likely at the time and Rose remembers being issued with a weapon for the express purpose of using it against invaders.

"I remember one weekend we were issued with revolvers and about 15 rounds I think to go with it. And I remember going out in the garden of the farmhouse and putting up some empty beer tins and potting at them to get some practice at shooting. So that was about all the preparation we had at the time."

Visit the Battle of Britain homepage

Related articles:

0800 169 2942

Sign up to receive the RAFBF e-newsletter