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RE: Yesterday: A Spit fires the imagination.

plastic penguin wrote:
And even try to explain, once and for all, why Dowding and keith Park, THE most important figures in winning the battle - along with Churchill - were removed from their positions. Heard various explanations but non really stand up in my view.

Still find their treatment disgusting. A book came out in 41 to commemorate the BoB and Dowding wasn't mentioned once. You can't airbrush a vastly influencial figure from that part of British history.

Biggest Churchill faux pas by some distance.

Edit - perhaps Chebby, a learned Churchill admirer, can throw some light on the subject.

I think the answer is illustrated in pages 748 - 749 of The Churchill War Papers Volume 3 1941 " The Ever Widening War" by Martin Gilbert.

These two pages contain two memos from Winston Churchill to Sir Archibald Sinclair, leader of the Liberal party and Secretary of State for Air (dated 2nd June 1941 and marked Action this day, Secret, and Private).

Churchill wanted Air Marshall Barratt sent to the USA (to work with them on war production of aircraft) and he wanted to install Dowding as Air Marshall to replace Barratt. (Churchill even embelishes this with the words "I am sure nothing but good will come of it.)

Archibald Sinclair obviously disagreed vehemently in his reply (not in the book) and Churchill bangs off another memo (personal) to Sinclair saying that as Minister Of Defence, he (Churchill) is used to being consulted by all the other services regarding such senior appointments and urges (strongly) Sir Archibald Sinclair to re-consider.

Basically there was a cabal (of which Sir Archibald Sinclair was the biggest player) determined to oust Dowding.

Now I have the volume out I will try and find more but that was very revealing and showed that Churchill was actually on Dowding's side and there are other references that showed Archibald Sinclair's animosity towards Dowding had angered  Churchill more than once before.

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RE: Yesterday: A Spit fires the imagination.

plastic penguin wrote:
Still find their treatment disgusting. A book came out in 41 to commemorate the BoB and Dowding wasn't mentioned once. You can't airbrush a vastly influencial figure from that part of British history.

That Air Ministry book was mentioned in Note 1 on the bottom of Page 749 as one of the things that made Churchill angry about Sir Archibald Sinclair's treatment of Dowding.

Martin Gilbert wrote to The Times in 1986...

"In November, 1940, when both Sinclair and the Air Staff unanimously urged Dowding’s removal, Churchill had no alternative but to accept their advice. In doing so, he stressed to Sinclair his admiration for Dowding’s qualities and achievements, and seven months later urged Sinclair to bring Dowding back to an operational command. This proposal was rejected by Sinclair and the Air Staff. In June, 1941, immediately after the fall of Crete, Churchill urged that Dowding should be recalled to active service as Commander-in-Chief of the Middle East Air Services. This too was rejected. In September 1941 Churchill wished Dowding to replace Air Marshal Tedder in the Middle East. He was confronted once more by the total refusal of Sinclair and the Chief of the Air Staff to give Dowding any active command."


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RE: Yesterday: A Spit fires the imagination.

chebby wrote:

plastic penguin wrote:
Still find their treatment disgusting. A book came out in 41 to commemorate the BoB and Dowding wasn't mentioned once. You can't airbrush a vastly influencial figure from that part of British history.

That Air Ministry book was mentioned in Note 1 on the bottom of Page 749 as one of the things that made Churchill angry about Sir Archibald Sinclair's treatment of Dowding.

Martin Gilbert wrote to The Times in 1986...

"In November, 1940, when both Sinclair and the Air Staff unanimously urged Dowding’s removal, Churchill had no alternative but to accept their advice. In doing so, he stressed to Sinclair his admiration for Dowding’s qualities and achievements, and seven months later urged Sinclair to bring Dowding back to an operational command. This proposal was rejected by Sinclair and the Air Staff. In June, 1941, immediately after the fall of Crete, Churchill urged that Dowding should be recalled to active service as Commander-in-Chief of the Middle East Air Services. This too was rejected. In September 1941 Churchill wished Dowding to replace Air Marshal Tedder in the Middle East. He was confronted once more by the total refusal of Sinclair and the Chief of the Air Staff to give Dowding any active command."


Thanks Chebby, hoped you could help.

Find this far more intriguing than a run of the mill documentary (info can be located in any half decent book). I'm not privvy to Churchill's papers, so this is an eye opener for me.

Reading your info, as well as my so-so knowledge of Dowding, there were an awful lot of conspirators; biggest players, from my researches, were Sholto Douglas and Leigh-Mallory. Both were advocates of the 'Big Wing', which was in stark contrast to "Dowding's method" of the 'hit and run' strategy.

From my past research, 'Big wing' was A) less effective at reducing enemy aircraft and Dirol there was more friendly fire cases than Dowding's preferred method, due to a lack of what the Americans call "target rich environment". The skies were too cluttered.

I could go on, but won't.

Thanks again, Chebby, I'll dig into this a little deeper over the coming weeks.

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RE: Yesterday: A Spit fires the imagination.

plastic penguin wrote:
I'm not privvy to Churchill's papers, so this is an eye opener for me.

I buy the 'full fat' hardback, 1st edition Heinemann 'companion volumes' to my WSC official biography* wherever possible. (Or the W W Norton USA 1st Editions when not possible.)

However Amazon in the USA also stock the Hillsdale College press versions that only cost $26 (no import duty or VAT on books)...

You would only need these two for what you have been discussing...

Volume 15

Volume 16

* Part of my WSC official biography a couple of years ago. I have bought three more volumes since then. Only about eight companion volumes to go!

[Edit]  Thankyou PP! Thanks to this thread - and the resultant delvings on amazon in the USA and UK - I have just found and ordered another (1st ed) volume from a 100% rated 3rd party bookseller in 'as new condition' for less than a third of the price that I would expect a more tatty copy to go for. (Probably because it's from a charity bookseller.)  Thank you again. Happy Smile 

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RE: Yesterday: A Spit fires the imagination.

Ah, good you've found something that tickles the (Churchill) spot.

Yeah'll be looking at consuming something worthwhile on the Churchill years. Have a lot of books and literal stuff on the war but nothing, apart from a DVD the ma-in-law gave me, on the man himself. Obviously the DVD gives a sweeping overview of Churchill, but nothing of personal correspondants - there's a ref towards the letters he wrote while at boarding school. That's it, in a nutshell.  

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RE: Yesterday: A Spit fires the imagination.

plastic penguin wrote:
...there's a ref towards the letters he wrote while at boarding school. That's it, in a nutshell.

The letters to his parents are often heart-breaking.

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RE: Yesterday: A Spit fires the imagination.

chebby wrote:

plastic penguin wrote:
...there's a ref towards the letters he wrote while at boarding school. That's it, in a nutshell.

The letters to his parents are often heart-breaking.

Indeed they are. In the context of this thread (and last few posts) that doesn't hold my attention quite as much. I've always loved the unorthodox aspects of the period, and the Dowding/Park dismissal is another topic of intrigue.

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RE: Yesterday: A Spit fires the imagination.

chebby wrote:

plastic penguin wrote:
I'm not privvy to Churchill's papers, so this is an eye opener for me.

I buy the 'full fat' hardback, 1st edition Heinemann 'companion volumes' to my WSC official biography* wherever possible. (Or the W W Norton USA 1st Editions when not possible.)

However Amazon in the USA also stock the Hillsdale College press versions that only cost $26 (no import duty or VAT on books)...

You would only need these two for what you have been discussing...

Volume 15

Volume 16

* Part of my WSC official biography a couple of years ago. I have bought three more volumes since then. Only about eight companion volumes to go!

[Edit]  Thankyou PP! Thanks to this thread - and the resultant delvings on amazon in the USA and UK - I have just found and ordered another (1st ed) volume from a 100% rated 3rd party bookseller in 'as new condition' for less than a third of the price that I would expect a more tatty copy to go for. (Probably because it's from a charity bookseller.)  Thank you again. Happy Smile 

I've come across this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dowding-Churchill-Dark-Battle-Britain/dp/1844158543/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_c

Could be an interesting read.

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Official war documentary thread

The other night there was another WWII doc presented by John Sergeant called 'Lancaster: Britain's Flying Past'. It had its merits, as does most decent documentaries about the era.

However, I do wish these programmes could be fronted by proper historians, rather than celebs.

One of my favs is about 'Operation Mincemeat', presented by journalist and historian Ben Macintyre. By contrast to celebs programmes, it is properly informative, darkly witty -- altogether more convincing than the Mcgregors cavorting around as a "look at me, I'm famous..." PR exercise. I like Ewan McGregor; he seems a good sort and he's a decent actor. And yes, his brother, Colin, was a pilot with 617 Dambuster (Tornado) Squadron but...

All-in-all, they just seem fake, whereas the Macintyre's knowledge comes across more convincing, and even makes the usual cliches more interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5570fDdBOQ

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