Man Booker Prize 2015

Professor Michael Wood, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith and Frances Osborne are the judges who will be deciding the winner of this years Man Booker Prize, which will be announced on 13 October. The winner will be joining a roster of major names including Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Margaret Atwood. This years Mann Booker Prize shortlist includes:

  • Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (UK)
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Jamaica)
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (US)
  • The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota (UK)
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (US)
  • The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)

Isambard Kingdom Brunel FRS

North Star
North Star

English Mechanical and Civil engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, FRS sadly Died 15 September 1859. Born 9 April 1806. When Brunel was eight he was sent to Dr Morrell’s boarding school in Hove, where he learned the classics. His father, was determined that Brunel should have access to the high-quality education he had enjoyed in his youth in France; accordingly, at the age of 14, the younger Brunel was enrolled first at the College of Caen in Normandy, then at Lycée Henri-Quatre in Paris. Sadly because his Father Marc sent him to expensive schools, he encountered financial problems, however because he was a Prominent engineer the Government intervened on his behalf.When Brunel completed his studies at Henri-Quatre in 1822, he was due to attend the renowned engineering school École Polytechnique, however Brunel studied under the prominent master clockmaker and horologist Abraham-Louis Breguet instead, after he praised Brunel’s potential in letters to his father.In late 1822, having completed his apprenticeship, Brunel returned to England. Brunel worked for several years as an assistant engineer on the hazardous project to create a tunnel under London’s River Thames near Rotherhithe, alongside his Father, who was chief engineer. However cave-ins and severe flooding in 1828 killed a number of Miners a delayed work, with Brunel narrowly escaping death himself.

In the early part of Brunel’s life, the use of railways began to take off as a major means of transport for goods. This influenced Brunel’s involvement in railway engineering, including railway bridge engineering. In 1833, before the Thames Tunnel was complete, Brunel was appointed chief engineer of the Great Western Railway, one of the wonders of Victorian Britain, running from London to Bristol and later Exeter .The company was founded at a public meeting in Bristol in 1833, and was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1835. It was Brunel’s vision that passengers would be able to purchase one ticket at London Paddington and travel from London to New York, changing from the Great Western Railway to the Great Western steamship at the terminus in Neyland, South Wales. He surveyed the entire length of the route between London and Bristol himself, with the help of many including his Solicitor Jeremiah Osborne of Bristol Law Firm Osborne Clarke who one occasion rowed Isambard Kingdom Brunel down the River Avon himself to survey the bank of the river for the route.

Brunel decided to use a broad gauge of 7 ft 1⁄4 in (2,140 mm) for the track, despite almost all other railways using standard Gauge, because he believed Standard Gauge would offer superior running at high speeds; he also proved through both calculation and a series of trials that his broader gauge was the optimum size for providing both higher speeds and a stable and comfortable ride to passengers, with the wider gauge allowing for larger carriages and thus greater freight capacity. Drawing on Brunel’s experience with the Thames Tunnel, the Great Western designed many engineering marvels including soaring viaducts such as the one in Ivybridge, specially designed stations, and vast tunnels including the Box Tunnel, which was the longest railway tunnel in the world at that time. Brunel also ordered many Locomotives to his own specification including “North Star” and 20-year-old Daniel Gooch (later Sir Daniel) was appointed as Superintendent of Locomotive Engines. Brunel and Gooch chose to locate their locomotive works at the village of Swindon.

Brunel also designed many bridges including the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. Spanning over 700 ft (210 m), and nominally 200 ft (61 m) above the River Avon, after submitting his designs to a committee headed by Thomas Telford, who rejected all entries, in favour of his own design, until the Public voted
in favour of Brunel’s design. Brunel also designed the Maidenhead Railway Bridge. Work also started on the Clifton suspension bridge in 1831, but was suspended due to the Queen Square Riots, However Thanks to colleagues at the Institute of Civil Engineers Work recommenced in 1862 and was completed in 1864, five years after Brunel’s death. The Clifton Suspension Bridge still stands today and over 4 million vehicles traverse it every year.

Brunel also designed the Royal Albert Bridge spanning the River Tamar at Saltash near Plymouth, Somerset Bridge (an unusual laminated timber-framed bridge near Bridgwater, the Windsor Railway Bridge. The Maidenhead Railway Bridge over the Thames in Berkshire is still carrying main line trains to the west, even though today’s trains are about ten times heavier than in Brunel’s time.In 1845 Hungerford Bridge, a suspension footbridge across the Thames near Charing Cross Station in London, was opened. It was replaced by a new railway bridge in 1859, and the suspension chains were used to complete the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Brunel also designed the Royal Albert Bridge in 1855 for the Cornwall Railway, this consists of two main spans of 455 ft (139 m), 100 ft (30 m) above mean high spring tide, plus 17 much shorter approach spans. Opened by Prince Albert on 2 May 1859, it was completed in the year of Brunel’s death.

In 1830, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and On 5 July 1836, Brunel married Mary Elizabeth Horsley (b. 1813), who came from an accomplished musical and artistic family, being the eldest daughter of composer and organist William Horsley. They established a home at Duke Street, Westminster, in London. In 1843, while performing a conjuring trick for the amusement of his children, Brunel accidentally inhaled a half-sovereign coin, which became lodged in his windpipe. A special pair of forceps failed to remove it, as did a machine devised by Brunel to shake it loose. At the suggestion of his father, Brunel was strapped to a board and turned upside-down, and the coin was jerked free. He recuperated at Teignmouth, and enjoyed the area so much that he purchased an estate at Watcombe in Torquay, Devon. Here he designed Brunel Manor and its gardens to be his retirement home. Sadly He never saw the house or gardens finished, as he died before it was completed. Brunel, a heavy smoker, suffered a stroke in 1859, just before the Great Eastern made her first voyage to New York. He died ten days later at the age of 53 and was buried, like his father, in Kensal Green Cemetery in London.He left behind his wife Mary and three children: Isambard Brunel Junior (1837–1902), Henry Marc Brunel (1842–1903) and Florence Mary Brunel (1847–1876). Henry Marc followed his father and grandfather in becoming a successful civil engineer. The Liverpool to Manchester railway line also opened 15 September 1830.

JOHN BULL

John Bull
John Bull

On 15 September 1831, The British built locomotive John Bull operated for the first time in New Jersey on the Camden and Amboy Railroad. It was Built by Robert Stephenson and Company, and was initially purchased by and operated for the Camden and Amboy Railroad, the first railroad in New Jersey, which gave John Bull the number 1 and its first name, “Stevens”. The C&A used the locomotive heavily from 1833 until 1866, when it was removed from active service and placed in storage.

After the C&A’s assets were acquired by the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) in 1871, the PRR refurbished and operated the locomotive a few times for public displays: it was fired up for the Centennial Exposition in 1876 and again for the National Railway Appliance Exhibition in 1883. In 1884 the locomotive was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution as the museum’s first major industrial exhibit.

In 1939 the employees at the PRR’s Altoona, Pennsylvania, workshops built an operable replica of the locomotive for further exhibition duties, as the Smithsonian desired to keep the original locomotive in a more controlled environment. After being on static display for the next 42 years, the Smithsonian commemorated the locomotive’s 150th birthday in 1981 by firing it up in Washington D.C. making it the world’s oldest surviving operable steam locomotive. Today, the original John Bull is on static display once more in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The replica John Bull is preserved at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Ettore Bugatti

bugatti1_35
Bugatti 35

World renowned automobile designer and manufacturer Ettore Bugatti was Born 15 September 1881, in Milan. Before founding his eponymous automobile manufacturing company Automobiles E. Bugatti, Ettore Bugatti designed a number of engines and vehicles for others. Prinetti & Stucchi produced his 1898 Type 1. From 1902 through 1904, Dietrich built his Type 3/4 and Type 5/6/7 under the Dietrich-Bugatti marque. In 1907, Bugatti became an employee of Deutz Gasmotoren Fabrik, where he designed the Type 8/9. Bugatti developed the Type 2 in 1900 and 1901, respectively. He developed the Type 5 in 1903. While employed at Deutz, Bugatti built the Type 10 in the basement of his home. In 1913, Bugatti designed a small car for Peugeot, the Type 19 Bébé.

bugatti-atlantic
Bugatti Atlantic

Although born in Italy, Bugatti established his eponymous automobile company, Automobiles E. Bugatti, in the town of Molsheim in the Alsace region of France in 1909 where they manufactured many gorgeous looking high-performance automobiles which were well known for the beauty of their designs Ettore Bugatti was from a family of artists and considered himself to be both an artist and constructor) and for the large number of races that they have won.The company was known both for the level of detail of its engineering in its automobiles, and for the artistic way in which the designs were executed, given the artistic nature of Ettore’s family (his father, Carlo Bugatti (1856–1940), was an important Art Nouveau furniture and jewelry designer). The company also enjoyed great success in early Grand Prix motor racing, winning the first ever Monaco Grand Prix. The company’s success culminated with driver Jean-Pierre Wimille winning the 24 hours of Le Mans twice (in 1937 with Robert Benoist and 1939 with Pierre Veyron). Famous Bugattis include the Type 35 Grand Prix cars, the Type 41 “Royale”, the Type 57 “Atlantic” and the Type 55 sports car.

bugatti-royale-03
Bugatti Royale

Bugatti’s cars focused on design, Engine blocks were hand scraped to ensure that the surfaces were so flat that gaskets were not required for sealing, many of the exposed surfaces of the engine compartment featured Guilloché (engine turned) finishes on them, and safety wires had been threaded through almost every fastener in intricately laced patterns. Rather than bolt the springs to the axles as most manufacturers did, Bugatti’s axles were forged such that the spring passed though a carefully sized opening in the axle, a much more elegant solution requiring fewer parts. He famously described his arch competitor Bentley’s cars as “the world’s fastest lorries” for focusing on durability. According to Bugatti, “weight was the enemy”. Bugatti was known for the advanced engineering of its premium road cars and its success in early Grand Prix motor racing. A Bugatti was driven to victory in the first Monaco Grand Prix.

Tragically Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean Bugatti, was killed on 11 August 1939 at the age of 30 while testing a Bugatti Type 57 tank-bodied race car near the Molsheim factory, after that, the company’s fortunes began to decline. World War II ruined the factory in Molsheim, and the company lost control of the property. During the war, Bugatti had planned to build a new factory at Levallois in Paris and designed a series of new cars. Sadly though he passed away on 21 August in 1947, and was buried in the Bugatti family plot at the municipal cemetery in Dorlisheim near Molsheim. His demise proved to be the end for the marque, and the death of his son Jean Bugatti in 1939 ensured there wasn’t a successor to lead the factory. by the 1950s The company was struggling financially, and released one last model , before eventually being purchased for its airplane parts business in the 1960s. No more than about 8000 cars were made. The company attempted a comeback under Roland Bugatti in the mid-1950s with the mid-engined Type 251 race car. Designed with help from Gioacchino Colombo, the car failed to perform to expectations and the company’s attempts at automobile production were halted. In the 1960s, Virgil Exner designed a Bugatti as part of his “Revival Cars” project. A show version of this car was actually built by Ghia using the last Bugatti Type 101 chassis, and was shown at the 1965 Turin Motor Show. Finance was not forthcoming, and Exner then turned his attention to a revival of Stutz.

Bugatti_EB110_GT
Bugatti EB110 GT

the Bugatti marque was resurected when Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli acquired the Bugatti brand in 1987, and established Bugatti Automobili SpA. Bugatti commissioned architect Giampaolo Benedini to design the factory which was built in Campogalliano, Italy.By 1989 the plans for the new Bugatti revival were presented by Paolo Stanzani and Marcello Gandini, designers of the Lamborghini Miura and Lamborghini Countach. Bugatti called their first production vehicle the Bugatti EB110 GT. Bugatti advertised the EB110 as the most technically advanced sports car ever produced.Famed racing car designer Mauro Forghieri served as Bugatti’s technical director from 1992 through 1994. It was around this time that the newly revived Bugatti presented a prototype large saloon called the EB112 in 1993. Perhaps the most famous Bugatti EB110 owner was seven-time Formula One World Championracing driver Michael Schumacher who purchased an EB110 in 1994. Sadly though By the time the EB110 came on the market, the North American and European economies were in recession. Poor economic conditions forced the company to fail and operations ceased in September 1995.

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Bugatti Veyron

The Bugatti brand was then acquired by Volkswagen AG in 1998, and Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign was commissioned to produce Bugatti’s first concept vehicle, the EB118, a coupé that debuted at the 1998 Paris Auto Show. The EB118 concept featured a 408 kilowatts (555 PS; 547 bhp), W-18 engine, which is widely considered to be the first W-configuration engine in any passenger vehicle. After its Paris debut, the EB118 concept was own again in 1999 at the Geneva Auto Show and the Tokyo Motor Show. Bugatti introduced its next concepts, the EB 218 at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show and the 18/3 Chiron at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. began assembling its first regular-production vehicle, the splendidly awesome Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 in September, 2005 at the Bugatti Molsheim, France assembly “studio”, and the even quicker Bugatti Veyron Supersport currently holds the record for the Worlds Fastest Street Legal Production Car after being clocked doing 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph). The Veyron was also named Car of the Decade (2000–2009) by the BBC television programme Top Gear and The standard Veyron won Top Gear’s Best Car Driven All Year award in 2005. Bugatti also has a concept for a Luxury Grand Tourer, named the Bugatti 16C Galibier in the pipe-line too.

Dame Agatha Christie DBE

British crime novelist Dame Agatha Christie, DBE was born 15th September 1890 . She also wrote short stories, and plays and romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections, most of which revolve around the investigations of such characters as Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple and Tommy and Tuppence.

Born to a wealthy upper middle-class family in Torquay, Devon, Christie served in a hospital during the First World War before settling into married life with her first child in London. Although initially unsuccessfull at getting her work published, in 1920, The Bodley Head press published her novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring the character of Poirot. This launched her literary career. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly four billion copies, and her estate claims that her works rank third, after those of William Shakespeare and the Bible, as the world’s most widely published books.

According to Index Translationum, Christie is the most translated individual author, and her books have been translated into at least 103 languages. And Then There Were None is Christie’s best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time.In 1971, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Christie’s stage play The Mousetrap holds the record for the longest initial run: it opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London on 25 November 1952 and as of 2012 is still running after more than 24,600 performances. In 1955, Christie was the first recipient of the Mystery Writers of America’s highest honour, the Grand Master Award, and in the same year Witness for the Prosecution was given an Edgar Award by the MWA for Best Play. Many of her books and short stories have been adapted numerous times for film television, radio, video games and comics.

Among her best known novels are: And then there were None, Final Cases, Poirot and the Regatta, Mystery, The Thirteen Problems, Crooked House, The Murder at the Vicarage/Body in the Library/The Moving Finger, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Five Little pigs, Murder on the Orient Express, Towards Zero, Death on the Nile, A Murder is Announced, Problem at Pollensa Bay, Sleeping Murder, 4.50 From Paddington, Pocket Full of Rye, Endless Night, The Clocks, The ABC Murders, Ordeal By Innocence, Appointment with Death, Cat Among the Pigeons, Endless Night, Evil Under the Sun, Why Didn’t they ask Evans, Towards Zero and Passenger to Frankfurt.

The great Gig in the Sky

Richard Wright, the keyboard player for progressive Rock Band Pink Floyd sadly passed away on 15th September 2008. Pink Floyd were founded in 1965 and originally consisted of students Roger Waters, Nick Mason,Richard Wright, and Syd Barrett. They first became popular playing in London’s underground music scene in the late 1960s. Under Barrett’s leadership they released two charting singles, “Arnold Layne” and “See Emily Play”, and a successful début album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn .In 1968 Syd Barratt departed from the group due to his deteriorating mental health & Gilmour joined Pink Floyd as the fifth member several months prior to this. Following the loss of their principal songwriter, Pink Floyd bassist and vocalist Roger Waters became the band’s lyricist and conceptual leader, with Gilmour assuming lead guitar, taking on most of the band’s music composition, and sharing lead vocals. With this line-up Pink Floyd achieved worldwide critical and commercial success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music, which used philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. and release of many concept albums such as The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall.

Pink Floyd ranked number 51 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time”, with David Gilmour ranking 14th in the greatest guitarists list. Largely due to the success of their albums the band was ranked No. 3 in Colin Larkin’s the ‘Top 50 Artists Of All Time’. Numerous artists have been influenced by Pink Floyd’s work: David Bowie has called Syd Barrett a major inspiration, The Edge (U2) also bought his first delay pedal after hearing the opening to Animals; and the Pet Shop Boys paid homage to The Wall during a performance in Boston; Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery has also cited Wish You Were Here as a major inspiration; and many other bands, including the Foo Fighters, Dream Theater, My Chemical Romance, Porcupine Tree, The Mars Volta, The La’s, Queen, Oasis, Iron Maiden, Stone Temple Pilots, Coheed and Cambria, Tool, Queensryche, 30 Seconds to Mars, Scissor Sisters, Rush, Radiohead, Gorillaz, Mudvayne, Nine Inch Nails, Korn, Primus and the Smashing Pumpkins, have all been influenced by them.

Pink Floyd have also been nominated for and won multiple technical awards including “Best Engineered Non-Classical Album” Grammy in 1980 for The Wall and BAFTAs award for ‘Best Original Song’ (awarded to Waters) and ‘Best Sound’ in 1982 for the The Wall film. A Grammy came to them in 1995 for “Rock Instrumental Performance” on “Marooned”. In 2008 Pink Floyd were awarded the Polar Music Prize for their contribution to contemporary music; Waters and Mason accepted the prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 17 January 1996, the UK Music Hall of Fame on 16 November 2005 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2010, and were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. They have continued to enjoy worldwide success and are one of the most commercially successful and influential rock music groups of all time. Since Pink Floyd Split, both Roger Waters and David Gilmour have also released a number of Solo albums including Amused to Death, on an Island and Rattle that Lock.

Free Money Day

Free Money Day is an annual, global event held annually on September 15 since 2011 as a social experiment and to promote sharing and alternative economic ideas. Free Money Day commemorates the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers’ 2008 filing for bankruptcy. Participants offer their own money to passing strangers at public places, two coins or notes at a time. Recipients are asked to pass on one of the notes or coins to someone else. 68 events were held in 2011. On a previous Free Money Day, according to the official website, 138 Free Money Day events were held in 24 countries. In 2012, it was planned to give $3,500 in cash to strangers globally. The money is given without obligation; it is hoped that the event and the transactions will stimulate conversations about the role of money in society, increase awareness about debt and make people think about their “relationship with money”. People invented their own methods to give away money. Coffee shop and video rental owners did not charge people for their services and asked them to give the amount to a stranger. In one case a person left a ₤ 10 note on a toilet seat and tweeted that “it would be the happiest bathroom visit someone will ever have”.

The event is initiated / organized by the Post Growth Institute and the global coordinator is Donnie Maclurcan, a co-founder of the Post Growth Institute. In describing the motivation for the event, Maclurcan is quoted as saying “We are looking to alternative economic futures where we don’t need to keep growing economically… One of Post Growth’s missions is to promote a steady-state economy or one that remains at a stable size rather than growing more.”

Battle of Britain day

imageSeptember 15 is Battle of Britain Day, It commemorates climax of the Battle of Britain, when the Royal Air Force shoots down large numbers of Luftwaffe aircraft and marks The end of the Second World War aeriel campaign known as The Battle of Britain (German: Luftschlacht um England, literally “Air battle for England”) which was waged by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940. The objective of the campaign was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF), especially Fighter Command. The name derives from a famous speech delivered by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the House of Commons: “…the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.” The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, and was also the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date. From July 1940, coastal shipping convoys and shipping centres, such as Portsmouth, were the main targets; one month later the Luftwaffe shifted its attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure. As the battle progressed the Luftwaffe also targeted aircraft factories and groundinfrastructure. Eventually the Luftwaffe resorted to attacking areas of political significance and using terror bombing strategy.mThe failure of Germany to achieve its objectives of destroying Britain’s air defences, or forcing Britain to negotiate an armistice or an outright surrender, is considered its first major defeat and a crucial turning point in the Second World War.By preventing Germany from gaining air superiority, the battle ended the threat that Hitler would launch Operation Sea Lion, a proposed amphibious and airborne invasion of Britain.

All preparations were to be made by mid-August. For secrecy, this directive was only issued to Commanders in Chief, but Hermann Göring passed it on to his Luftwaffe Air Fleet commanders by coded radio messages, which were intercepted by Britain’s Y-Service and successfully decrypted by Hut 6 at Bletchley Park.The Kriegsmarine produced a draft plan for achieving a narrow beachhead near Dover. On 28 July the army responded that they wanted landings all along the South Coast of England. Hitler held a meeting of his army and navy chiefs on 31 July in his Berghof, and on 1 August the OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or “High Command of the Armed Forces”) issued its plan. The plan, code namedUnternehmen Seelöwe (“Operation Sea Lion”), was scheduled to take place in mid-September 1940. Seelöwe called for landings on the south coast of Great Britain, backed by an airborne assault. Neither Hitler nor OKW believed it would be possible to carry out a successful amphibious assault on Britain until the RAF had been neutralised. Raeder believed that air superiority might make a successful landing possible although it would be a risky operation and required “absolute mastery over the Channel by our air forces”.

Conversely, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz believed air superiority was “not enough”. Dönitz stated, “we possessed neither control of the air or the sea; nor were we in any position to gain it. Some writers, such as Derek Robinson, have agreed with Dönitz. Robinson argues that the massive superiority of the Royal Navy over the Kriegsmarine would have made Sea Lion a disaster and the Luftwaffe could not have prevented decisive intervention by British cruisers and destroyers, even with air superiority. Williamson Murray argued that the task facing the Germans in summer 1940 was beyond their capabilities. The three German armed services were not capable of solving the problem of invading the British Isles. Murray contends that the Kriegsmarine had been effectively eliminated owing to heavy losses during the Norwegian Campaign. Murray states it is doubtful that the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe could have prevented the Royal Navy engaging the invasion fleet. The Luftwaffe had not been represented at the Berghof, but Göring was confident that air victory was possible. Like many commanders in other air forces, including the RAF, he was convinced by the ideas of Giulio Douhet that “The bomber will always get through” and if attacks on military targets failed, bombing civilians could force the British government to surrender

The early stages of the Second World War saw successful German invasions on the continent supported by Luftwaffe air power able to establish tactical air superiority. In early May 1940, theNorway Debate questioned the fitness for office of the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. On 10 May, the Germans invaded France, and on the same day Winston Churchill became British Prime Minister. RAF Fighter Command was desperately short of trained pilots and aircraft, but despite the objections of its commander Hugh Dowding that this left home defences under-strength, Churchill sent fighter squadrons to support operations in France where the RAF suffered heavy losses. After the evacuation of British and French soldiers from Dunkirk and the French surrender on 22 June 1940, Hitler was mainly focused on the possibilities of invading the Soviet Union while believing that the British, defeated on the continent and without European allies, would quickly come to terms. Germans were so convinced of an imminent armistice that they began constructing street decorations for homecoming parades of victorious troops. Although the Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, and an element of British public and political sentiment favoured a negotiated peace with an ascendant Germany, Churchill and a majority of his Cabinet refused to consider an armistice with Hitler. Instead, Churchill used his skilful rhetoric to harden public opinion against capitulation, and to prepare the British for a long war. In his “This was their finest hour” speech on 18 June 1940, he said “the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.”

After a series of victories, Germany ruled most of central Europe; from Poland to France, Denmark and Norway. Hitler hoped for a negotiated peace with Britain, but had made no preparations for amphibious assault on a hostile shore; at the time, the only forces with modern equipment and experience were the Japanese at the Battle of Wuhan.On 11 July, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy), told Hitler that an invasion could only be contemplated as a last resort, and only after fullair superiority had been achieved. The Kriegsmarine had been nearly crippled by the Norwegian Campaign, with many of its ships having been sunk or damaged, while the Royal Navy still had over 50 destroyers, 21 cruisers and eight battleships in the British Home Fleet. There was little the weakened Kriegsmarine could do to stop the Royal Navy from intervening. The only alternative was to use the Luftwaffe’s dive bombers and torpedo bombers, which required air superiority to operate effectively. Grand Admiral Raeder said, “A powerful and effective air force might create conditions favourable for an invasion, whether it could was not in the Navy War Staff’s province.” On 16 July, although he agreed with Raeder, Hitler ordered the preparation of a plan to invade Britain; he also hoped that news of the preparations would frighten Britain into peace negotiations.