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Bentley Priory

Discussion in 'War44 General Forums' started by brianw, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. brianw

    brianw Member

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    Bentley Priory, often referred to as Stanmore was the headquarters of RAF Fighter Command and the nerve centre of Dowding’s command and control system collating the reports of approaching German bombers from the Chain-Home RDF stations and the Observer Corps during the Battle of Britain. It was also the headquarters of the Observer Corps for almost its entire history.

    During the battle, those reports from outside were analysed by some highly trained staff in the “Filter Room” before being passed to the “Operations Room” where the overall battle progress and plans plotted on the large map table. Once the intentions, track, height and attackers numbers had been evaluated the orders to “scramble” were passed down to the Groups and from there down to sectors and onwards down to the squadrons.

    There are some detractors who might say that the war is long passed and should be forgotten, but these buildings such as Bentley Priory, Bletchley Park, The Cabinet War Rooms and others are part of this nation’s modern heritage and I for one am happy to see money provided for their preservation.

    The 300 year old mansion had fallen into a state of disrepair over the years since its heyday and was to be demolished, but thanks to some heroic support and fundraising it has now been restored to its former glory and on 12 September 2013 was opened as a museum to the Battle of Britain by HRH the Prince of Wales.

    Judging by the short excerpts on the BBC news channel Bentley Priory might be well worth a visit.

    Bentley Priory Museum Website
    Bentley Priory on Wikipedia
     
  2. GusBell

    GusBell New Member

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    Amen to that!

    Right on Brian --

    On our first visit to London earlier this year, my wife and I visited Churchill's war rooms and were thoroughly impressed and happy to see all that has been preserved there. It reminded us of the great sacrifices made throughout the war. We also went out to Hampton Court and then walked to Bushy Park Camp Griffiss was once located. We found that there were no remnants left of what was once SHAEF Hq/Widewing. It was all open fields -- which was fine because we knew from Google earth that there wasn't anything left of the buildings, but it was kind of sad at the same time. We were thrilled to locate the flagpole and plaque where Eisenhower's office was once located and also the RAF memorial to the US 8th Air Force. We even walked along SHAEF way and found what is left of the SHAEF entrance. So, I am heartily agreeing with you that the more permanent structures of key locations (like Bletchley Park) left from WWII should be preserved and opened to the public. These things should not be forgotten, but left so that later generations are reminded what the war was all about. BTW - we loved London.
     
  3. Cabel1960

    Cabel1960 recruit

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    Thanks for this guys, places such as these should be preserved and open to all as a remembrance to all those who took part in this war. :thumb:
     
  4. brianw

    brianw Member

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    Some minor points of note regarding the accuracy of the 1969 film "The Battle of Britain" and Bentley Priory.

    When Laurence Olivier cast as Air Chief Marshal Dowding and Trevor Howard as Air Vice Marshal Keith Park stepped out onto the veranda to observe the night-time bombing of London towards the end of the film, Dowding made a remark about London being bombed and Park replied "As long as they leave my airfields alone ... ".
    That sequence in the film was actually shot on the real veranda of Bentley Priory, no doubt in the interests of accuracy (not quite how Hollywood does it!).

    Dowding's office in the film was also shot at Bentley Priory, using Dowding's original office furniture and in his original office too. In fact all the scenes of RAF Fighter Command headquarters, even the plotting room were shot at Bentley Priory.

    Aldwych tube station was a wartime air raid shelter and that was opened up for location filming.

    Some of the airfield sequences in England were shot at Duxford, Debden, North Weald and Hawkinge; all were operational fighter stations in 1940. The bombing of the hangar at Duxford during the air raid was a real explosion, it was intended to demolish the hangar anyway - so instead of just knocking it down they blew it up for the film.

    The area in London around St Katharine's Dock was being redeveloped at the time of filming, so the partially demolished houses were dressed for filming and some were set on fire for some of the "blitz" sequences.

    More information about the cast, aircraft and locations can be found at:
    Battle of Britain (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  5. m.i.l.f hunter

    m.i.l.f hunter New Member

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    I thought that it was being turned into some flashy up market apartments? Although the main building I thought was listed.
    I remember a long time ago shooting rabbits around the grounds with my dad when he was serving.
     
  6. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    If i am ever down that way Brian, then i would certainly make time for a visit ... It is good to see that it is now a museum ... :thumb:
     

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