The Heart And Brain Of The WWII British Royal Air Force Fighters—Air Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding

(Photograph of Air Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, circa 1935, [Public Domain] via Creative Commons)


One of the lesser-known heroes from World War Two is Sir Hugh Dowding. For much of the 1930s Dowding headed the research and development of the RAF. While he directed R&D, he backed the development of radar, and he also was involved in incorporating the Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft into RAF use.

Around 1937, Sir Hugh Dowding was appointed as head of Fighter Command. In this position, he strengthened the structure of the RAF and reworked British fighter strategy and doctrine.

By April 1940, when the Battle of Britain began, Dowding had been involved in developing, structuring and drilling doctrine into the RAF. Due to his mechanical and theoretical contributions to the Royal Air Force, Britain was well equipped to defend against the larger German Luftwaffe.

Written by C. Keith Hansley


  • Warfare in the Western World: Military Operations Since 1871 by Robert A. Doughty and Ira D Gruber et al. Massachusetts: D. C. Heath and Company, 1996.

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