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The Operations Block

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Operations Building

The Operation Block, from where all air operations were controlled at Hawkinge during the War, is now home to items gleaned from over 600 Battle of Britain aircraft, the majority of which were excavated by the Museum's recovery team in the late 1960's and 1970's or donated by individuals since the foundation of the collection.

Items large and small, ranging from Aero engines to small strips of alloy with identification numbers of the aircraft concerned, they all bear mute witness to the terrible force of their impact with the soil, over sixty years ago.

After each excavation, the recovered artefacts are cleaned, sorted and put on display. Whether it's the Control Column, an engine, instruments or just a few twisted fragments and bullet cases that are found, they hold the key to tell a story about one incident in the Battle of Britain. Each board is part of a large jigsaw that builds up the story of the Battle. As you tour the Museum and read the displays, they will start to form an overview of the Battle, by first hand accounts, tangible relics and photographs of those involved. In many cases the display of recovered artefacts is the only Memorial the pilot or airman has, other than his gravestone.

In a number of cases you will read of an individual shooting down another aircraft, only later to see artefacts recovered from an aircraft he inturn had been shot down in. Sometimes they will have survived to fight another day, other times they will have paid the ultimate price. Some of those you read about will have been shot down and killed on their first combat sortie, while others will have fought in the Spanish civil war (both sides), the battles of Poland, the Low Countries and France. Some will have survived being shot down five or six times. As well as British and German aviators, American, Australian, Belgian, Canadian, Czech, French, New Zealand, South African and Polish pilots are represented.

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