80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Brooklands Air Raid Memorial Service
26th August 2020
What: A memorial service in remembrance of the 88 civilians killed at Brooklands in a German Air Raid on September 4th, 1940, who were manufacturing Wellington Bombers and Hawker Hurricanes for the Battle of Britain.
When: Friday 4th September 2020 at 1300hrs – 1345hrs (press arrival 1230hrs)
Where: Brooklands Museum (Finishing Straight), Brooklands Road, Weybridge Surrey KT13 0SL. Parking in the public car park and enter through the Admissions building.
Who: The Right Revd Andrew Watson Bishop of Guildford, Lord Lt Michael More-Molyneux, The Mayor of Elmbridge, Brooklands Museum Chairman Sir Gerald Acher, and friends and relatives of the 88 people killed at Brooklands during the air-raid.
Why: Brooklands played a crucial role in the production of aircraft for the Battle of Britain. On September 4th, 1940, Brooklands was directly targeted with successful bombings of the Vickers factory in the most devastating attack on an industrial target of its time.
Memorial Service Details
- The Bishop of Guildford will lead a service at 1315hrs including by a roll call of those who fell at 1324hrs, and 1-minute silence. A drinks reception will follow in the Garden of Memories.
- Attendees will be presented with a commemorative memorial badge to wear throughout the service.
- Those in attendance include friends, family, and representatives of the workers of Vickers Armstrong and Hawkers aircraft factories at Brooklands.
- Those available for interview include selected representatives of the victims, the Hurricane Restoration Team, Sir Andrew Pulford, Senior Military Advisor for BAE Systems, Tamalie Newbery, CEO of Brooklands Museum, Allan Winn, former CEO for Brooklands Museum.
- The museum is commemorating this anniversary with the opening of the new Air Raid Shelter Walkthrough Experience which features the images and voices of the men and women who survived the attack. The new exhibit has been funded by BAE Systems, formally British Aerospace Corporation including Vickers Armstrong.
- The Brooklands Air Raid Shelter along with Brooklands motor racing circuit, the remains of the pre-World War II aerodrome, World War II Bofors tower, and the Brooklands memorial, are Scheduled Monuments with Historic England.
Brooklands, famed for introducing Britain to motorsport with its creation of the World’s first racing circuit, also fuelled the global obsession with aviation seeing one of Britain’s first powered flights take off from the track’s Finishing Straight. A magnet for race drivers, pilots, innovators, and pioneers alike, Brooklands became a household name hosting the first British Grand Prix and becoming the most prolific aircraft production factory in Europe.
Following Brooklands’ contribution of aircraft to the war effort in the First World War, the site was again used in 1939 for military aircraft production, in particular the Vickers Wellington, and Hawker Hurricane. The iconic racetrack and aircraft hangars were extensively camouflaged to conceal them from German bombing raids.
On Wednesday 4th September 1940 at precisely 1324hrs, the Vickers aircraft factory at Brooklands was bombed by the German Luftwaffe.
The attack which lasted three minutes was considered the most devastating raid on any aircraft factory of the Second World War and claimed almost 90 lives with over 400 injured.
The unexpected attack came as many workers were enjoying their lunch outside or queuing up to clock-in for their afternoon shift, in a workshop that was directly hit. Workers at the Vickers Factory were accustomed to the sound of aircraft overhead and as such the air-raid siren was tragically not sounded in time.
The workers began the task of recovering the victims and clearing the wreckage, only to be targeted two days later in a non-fatal attack that destroyed and damaged buildings belonging to the Hawker factory.