An imposing set of RAF gates that once graced the former RAF Biggin Hill is to be installed at the National Memorial to the Few on the Kent coast. The gates have been acquired by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, custodians of the site at Capel-le-Ferne, just outside Folkestone on Kent’s famous White Cliffs.
The trust, which receives no public funding of any kind, is now seeking help to raise the money needed to install the gates and the brick wall that will flank them. The fund-raising campaign has been timed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain in 2020, with the trust – a charity – hoping to unveil the new gates in May of next year.
The gates are just one of a number of improvements it wants to fund through the £250,000 campaign. It plans to renew two propeller blades that mark the entrance to the site and improve the acoustic and blackout properties in the part of its Wing visitor centre used for talks and film screenings.
The trust also hopes to refresh The Scramble Experience, the audio-visual introduction to the Battle of Britain housed in The Wing, upgrading the hardware as well as creating a new film.
“We are immensely proud of the Memorial and visitors often remark on how well kept it is, but the entrance is currently uninspiring,” explained Trust Chairman Richard Hunting CBE. “The gates from Biggin Hill will look absolutely superb at the entrance to the site, but restoring and hanging them and building the brick walls either side will be an expensive task.
“Refreshing The Scramble Experience will cost money but will also generate long-term savings as we plan to move towards lower energy, long-life equipment such as digital projectors. In total we are looking to the public to help us raise £250,000 and we felt that the 80th of the RAF’s remarkable victory against the Luftwaffe would be an appropriate occasion to unveil these much-needed improvements and help us continue to honour the Few.” www.battleofbritainmemorial.org