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18th August
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15th August 1940 - The coining of "The Few"

This day saw the christening of a legend as Churchill grumbled his way through his most famous speech in the Commons. At last the country had a label - the label was to stick.

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Original Squadron Combat Report
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The results of the engagements that took place on the 15th can be seen as a victory for the escorting German fighters in as much as they held back the intercepting British fighters and the bombers pressed home their attack. It also symbolises the courage of the newly christened Few.

Eighty-eight Dornier 17's approached Deal escorted by more than 130 Me 109's. At least 60 more Me 109's crossed the Kent coast at Dover. Three airborne squadrons were sent to intercept - 36 British fighters against 278 enemy planes, odds of more than 7-1, fighter to fighter odds of 5-1.

It was the 60 Messerschmitts over Dover that were to meet 64 Squadron. The Squadron Combat Report well conveys the swift and dangerous environment of the ensuing battle that raged back across the Channel towards the French coast.

MacDonnell waded into four 109's destroying one before being forced to evade the attack of two more. Gilbert knocked an 109 off the tail of a Spitfire with a devastating five second burst before himself being hit.

Laws bagged his second confirmed 109 with a skilful piece of marksmanship amongst the chaos. He struck with a beam attack as the machine slowed slightly at the top of a turn. Two more three second bursts into the tail of the diving enemy turned the 109 into a flaming coffin.

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Laws' Personal Combat Report
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This 109 was not the only light in the sky that afternoon; a Spitfire seen spinning in flames was Pilot Officer Andreae, who did not survive. Pilot Officer Roberts was also shot down but was taken prisoner on French soil.

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Punch Ltd.

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