“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”. Those were the words of Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, regarding RAF Fighter Command’s part in the Battle of Britain, during the Summer of 1940, 75 years ago.
Keighley Library has a chilling reminder of the Luftwaffe’s air campaigns in the form of two maps brought from Germany after WW2.The war maps consist of British 6 inch Ordnance Survey maps, on to which has been superimposed the German grid system. The maps show military geographical data, supposedly gathered by April 1942, and provide the location of places of significance. They were produced, for service use only, by the Department for War Maps for the German Army General Staff and, significantly, they are second editions.
In his book, Keighley in the Second World War, Ian Dewhirst points out their disturbing thoroughness as a whole and, rather alarmingly, the potential targets highlighted by the Department in red, purple and black which include all types of industry, transport routes and centres, bridges and sources of water supply. One would hope that hospitals and schools were only noted to be avoided in any attack.
The related items shown are from the BMT/KE 10/WW2 collection.
The photograph below shows one of a batch of 200 Hurricanes bought in 1941 by public subscription – this one is Keighley’s, No Z2749.