Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary 2010

Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary 2010

Battle artLONDON, AUGUST 20TH— Sev­en decades to the day after Win­ston Churchill’s inspir­ing salute to the Roy­al Air Force as the Bat­tle of Britain was reach­ing its height, Tim­o­thy Robert Hardy, the great­est actor ever to por­tray Churchill, deliv­ered por­tions of the Prime Minister’s House of Com­mons speech con­tain­ing the famous trib­ute: “Nev­er in the field of human con­flict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

The orig­i­nal speech was a long overview of the war sit­u­a­tion cov­er­ing many events beside “the great air bat­tle” rag­ing in the skies over Britain. In def­er­ence to the occa­sion, Robert Hardy deft­ly pro­vid­ed Churchill’s trib­ute to the air­men, and oth­er excerpts from the full speech deliv­ered in the House of Com­mons on 20 August 1940. (Avail­able from me via email.)

Battle: The Greatest Actor

When this was post­ed Mr. Hardy was approach­ing his 85th birthday—though it is impos­si­ble to visu­al­ize him as much more than twen­ty years younger. His Churchill roles began with the mar­velous tele­vi­sion series “The Wilder­ness Years” and extend­ed through one-man per­for­mances and even a stage play. Many times over the past thir­ty years, he said that Churchill was the one man last cen­tu­ry who could lead us through the worst of times by the force of his mes­mer­iz­ing speech­es, mon­u­men­tal courage and per­son­al charis­ma. We say in reply that Robert Hardy’s work express­es all the Churchillian qual­i­ties, and through his skill the true Churchill emerged for new gen­er­a­tions.

At the end of his August 1940 speech Churchill expressed his opti­mism, despite a des­per­ate bat­tle, which we can only approx­i­mate by read­ing his words today. Free peo­ples every­where will under­stand those words, and hope that if, or indeed when, we are faced by such a per­il again, we will have such lead­ers:

“For my own part, look­ing out upon the future, I do not view the process with any mis­giv­ings. I could not stop it if I wished; no one can stop it. Like the Mis­sis­sip­pi, it just keeps rolling along. Let it roll. Let it roll on full flood, inex­orable, irre­sistible, benig­nant, to broad­er lands and bet­ter days.”

One thought on “Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary 2010

  1. it was a leg­endary bat­tle . few peo­ple were part of it but is impact was enor­mous.

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