Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was the UK Prime Minister during the Second World War (from 1940 to 1945). However just after the First World War, he was made Secretary of State for Air as he was in favour of using aeroplanes in combat. He is famous for delivering speeches during the Battle of Britain and in particular, creating the nickname ‘The Few’ to describe the RAF Fighter Pilots who took part in it.

As part of the RAF Museum’s collection, we look after his letters to Sir Hugh Dowding, the commander of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain and visitors to the Museum in London can listen to Churchill give his ‘Battle of Britain’ speech to a fearful nation from a recreation of his 10 Downing Street Office.

You can find out more about the Battle of Britain in our online exhibition.

Winston Churchill would certainly have become a member of the RAF Museum. He was made an Honorary Air Commodore and wore his RAF uniform with pride on notable occasions such as this visit to North Africa and a state visit to meet Josef Stalin. He took flying lessons before the First World War and 29 years after his first solo flight, he won his RAF wings. It is also said that he created the ‘wings’ badge of the RAF. The legend says that he had just been to France where he had bought a Napoleonic Eagle brooch as a gift for his wife. He was in discussion with Captain Murray Sueter about designing a special badge for pilots. ‘Something like this?’ he said and held the brooch against Sueter’s sleeve.

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