Discover the Battle of Britain story at IWM Duxford

The Battle of Britain took place from 10 July - 31 October 1940. Duxford was a Sector Station during the Battle of Britain which meant it was responsible for directing squadrons into battle.

It was also home to the ‘Big Wing’ led by Squadron Leader Douglas Bader.

Discover the personal stories of those who served at RAF Duxford, learn about the RAF's aerial defence network, get up close to a Spitfire, Hurricane and crash-landed Messerschmitt, in our brand new Ops Block exhibition and refreshed Battle of Britain hangar.



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Learn about the Second World War aerial campaign in the place where Battle of Britain history was made.

Second World War, Battle of Britain

8 Things You Need To Know About The Battle Of Britain

Spitfire pilots pose beside the wreckage of a Junkers Ju 87 Stuka, 1940.
© IWM (CH 2064)

The Battle of Britain was a major air campaign fought over southern England in the summer and autumn of 1940. Here are 8 things you need to know about one of Britain’s most important victories of the Second World War.

Observer Corps thumbnail
Second World War

How did the Observer Corps help win the Battle of Britain?

Just under 3,000 RAF aircrew risked their lives to face the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain, yet on the ground, around 30,000 volunteers formed a highly-trained network of aircraft observers working around the clock to support the men in the air.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk I of No. 19 Squadron at Fowlmere in Cambridgeshire, 21 September 1940.
© IWM (CH 1447)
Second World War

9 Iconic Aircraft From The Battle Of Britain

Learn about the RAF Fighter Command’s aircraft during the Battle of Britain from the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane, to the Bf 109 (named the best fighter in the world), the 'Flying Pencil' and the infamous ‘Stuka’.

Sir Hugh Dowding in red superimposed onto a radar station
© IWM D 1417
Second World War

How Hugh Dowding and the RAF won the Battle of Britain

The Battle of Britain is often defined by images of Spitfires and Messerschmitts duelling in the skies. But what if the deciding factor in this fight for air supremacy was actually based on the ground? IWM Duxford Curator Craig Murray takes a look at the Dowding System and explains how it turned the battle decisively in Britain's favour.


Make the most of your visit to IWM Duxford with Bloomberg Connects. Download our digital guide to explore our new Battle of Britain exhibition and the Ops Block, uncovering more stories and photographs about the people and objects featured.

Inspired by the Few

Mark Battle of Britain 80 with these commemorative gifts, from our exclusive t-shirt and mug, to fashion, films and homeware.
Free UK Delivery on orders over £50

Duxford and the Battle of Britain

IWM Duxford - In 1940, Duxford played a vital role in the Battle of Britain
IWM Duxford

Voices of Duxford

Hear the powerful stories of the men and women who served at Duxford, from the Battle of Britain to the Cold War. 

Pilots of No. 19 and No. 616 Squadrons pose alongside a Spitfire at Duxford. Sitting on wing (left to right) are Brian Lane, George Unwin and Francis Brinsden (with Flash the Alsation and Rangy the Spaniel). Front row (left to right) are Bernard Jennings, Colin McFie, Howard Burton and Philip Leckman.
© IWM CH 1400
IWM Duxford

13 Photos Of Duxford And Fowlmere During The Battle Of Britain

During the Battle of Britain, Duxford and Fowlmere had two main jobs - to protect the Midlands and help the fighters of 11 Group when needed. 11 Group was responsible for the south-east of England, including London, and bore the brunt of the fighting in the summer of 1940. Here are 13 photos that showcase life at Duxford and Fowlmere during the Battle of Britain. 

RAF Duxford and The Spitfire
Battle of Britain

The Fascinating Story Of Duxford And The Spitfire

Duxford and the Supermarine Spitfire have a shared history. RAF Duxford's No. 19 Squadron was the first RAF squadron to re-equip with the new Supermarine Spitfire, and the first Spitfire was flown into RAF Duxford in August 1938

'Never was so much owed by so many to so few'

“Eighty years ago, during the summer of 1940, the Royal Air Force took on the German Luftwaffe at a pivotal point in the Second World War. This aerial campaign became known as the Battle of Britain. The average age of a pilot was just twenty years old. And they weren’t just British, many came from occupied nations such as Czechoslovakia and Poland. Parts of the Commonwealth and neutral nations such as the United States. This battle saw the RAF defeat the Luftwaffe for control of the skies over England, allowing Britain to remain in the war and helping steer the Allies towards victory in Europe. The gratitude of every home in our island, in our empire and indeed throughout the world accepting the abodes of the guilty goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger are turning the tide of the world war by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Hear the words Winston Churchill spoke in 1940 again in this 80th anniversary commemorative video. 

Participants included RAF Duxford Veteran, Stan Dell, Flight Lieutenant Genevieve Rolleston-Smith, Artur Bildziuk of the Polish Airmen’s Association, Stephen Fry, Dan Snow, Samira Ahmed and James Holland.