Military History Lecture - The Royal Air Force in France, May and June 1940

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A lecture by Christopher Finn MPhil FRAeS, Senior Air Power Lecturer (Operations), Air Power Studies Division, King's College London at the RAF College Cranwell.


In May 1940, the British Air Forces in France (BAFF) comprised of the Advanced Air Striking Force and the Air Component of the British Expeditionary Force. The heroic sacrifice of many of the obsolescent Fairey Battles in the first few days of the German campaign is well known. However, the role of the RAF in the retreat to Dunkirk and its contribution to the successful evacuation is much less so. Its continued operation in France and the Channel Islands until the final evacuation of British forces is almost unknown. In his lecture, Christopher Finn will tell the story of the actions of the RAF in France in May and June 1940 and suggest that the BAFF, and latterly Fighter Command, made a significant contribution in that period to the RAF's success in the subsequent Battle of Britain.

Christopher Finn MPhil FRAeS served as a navigator in the RAF from 1972 to 2005 and retired as a Group Captain, having been Director Defence Studies (RAF). Since retirement, he has worked as a lecturer and administrator in the Air Power Studies Division, King's College London at the RAF College Cranwell. His main interest is in the use of battlefield tours as a medium for teaching air power. He is a 'badged' member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides and holds an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge.



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