Key sites honoured to mark Battle of Britain’s 80th anniversary

To mark the 80th anniversary of the decisive Battle of Britain during the Second World War, official protection was announced for a number of key sites across England.

The new listings were awarded on Monday by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England, reports Xinhua news agency.

The sites include an air raid shelter at St John’s Primary School, Redhill, Surrey, where colourful Second World War murals were painted by school boys between 1939 and 1941.

Depicting scenes from books including Treasure Island, Robin Hood, and Gulliver’s Travels, the murals were intended to provide distraction and comfort during bombing raids.

The work of art by the boys in the school’s art classes, according to Historic England, are the only known example of a complete decorative scheme produced for a school air raid shelter.

A rare Second World War radar air defence tower in Essex has also been listed, with another tower as part of the same key system being upgraded to a higher level of official listing.

Built in late 1930s, the towers are rare surviving physical components of the world’s first radar air defence network and among very few from the network to remain standing today.

The towers were given protected status as a reminder of the widespread anxiety during the pre-war years about the impact of aerial assaults on Britain.

Added to the list of protected structures is a pillbox cleverly disguised as a roofless ruin in Northumberland to protect the vulnerable Druridge Bay from German invasion.

“In their variety, they show how the Battle has left its mark across England,” said Historic England.

The Battle of Britain took place between July and October 1940, while the date of September 15 is widely seen as when Royal Air Force (RAF) Fighter Command gained a decisive victory over the German Luftwaffe.