HUGH DOWDING - Original Handwritten and Signed Letter
Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding was one of the most important figures in the History of the Second World War. Having served in the Great War as both a pilot and Commanding Officer (16 Squadron) and was steadily promoted through the inter-war years.
He became Officer Commanding Air Defence Great Britain and showed great interest in new scientific advances and technology, despite having and experience of either. In 1936 he was appointed commanding Officer of the newly created RAF Fighter Command and immediately set to work on various projects that would enhance the Air Defence of Britain - Radar, Observers and plotting of possible hostile aircraft. In addition, he oversaw the upgrade of the RAF's fighter aircraft - Biplanes giving way to the more modern monoplanes of the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire - both arriving in RAF service just as the clouds of war started over Europe.
Dowding was actually due to retire in June of 1939 but was asked to remain until March 1940 because of the worsening situation, which then was extended for the entire duration of the Battle of Britain.
Dowding resolutely refused to send his entire reserves of aircraft to France and, when the Battle of Britain began in July 1940, his defence system was the main difference between the two Air Forces. He worked closely with Air-Vice Marshal Keith Park commanding 11 Group - trying to conserve fighters and hit the Luftwaffe bombers where possible. It is undeniable that his tactics were to eventually prove successful.
Unfortunately, other Commanders were critical of some of his handling of the Battle - the 'Big Wing' theorists were equally convinced that using large Fighter formations against massed German raids was a better strategy. However, the 'Big Wings' proved to be difficult to form up and also keep together in the air.
At the end of the Battle of Britain , with victory assured, Dowding was removed from his post and eventually he retired from the RAF.
Hugh Dowding died in 1970.
This is a VERY RARE handwritten Letter by Dowding to 'Mr Dempster' (this could possibly be Derek Dempster co-author of 'The Narrow Margin') inviting him to his home address and giving him directions by both Rail or Car.
The Letter is Signed at the top 'From Lord Dowding' and also at the bottom and is on Lord Dowding's own embossed headed paper.
A very nice and rare piece of Battle of Britain memorabilia!!!!
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