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News & Archives > Past Events > The Women behind Dowding's Victory in the Battle of Britain

The Women behind Dowding's Victory in the Battle of Britain

22 Sep 2023
Past Events

This was the first of our War Cloister series of lectures, in which Dr Sarah-Louise Miller described how women broke stereotyping and overcame prejudice to play a substantial but previously under-recognised role in Dowding’s victory in the Battle of Britain.

A distinguishing feature of War Cloister is that no name commemorating a Wykehamist has greater prominence than any other. The only possible exception to this is the bronze head of Air Chief Marshal The Lord Dowding (Hugh Dowding (G, 1895-99)). Although not a casualty himself, he led Fighter Command from 1936 – 1940 and to victory in the Battle of Britain. His statue was installed 35 years later.

Sarah-Louise Miller is an experienced historian, author and media consultant, specialising in Second World War history. She is currently based at the Faculty of History, University of Oxford, and is a tutor at the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London. In her book The Women behind the Few, Dr Miller tells how members of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) overcame barriers to undertake vital military work in support of the victory popularly ascribed to Dowding.

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