The Many: Those on the ground

Victory during the Battle of Britain would not have been possible without the tireless work on the ground of The Many.

At RAF Bentley Priory, men and women of the RAF and WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) worked long shifts under great pressure within the Filter Room and Operations Room, which were pivotal cogs of the newly developed ‘Dowding System’.

The Filter Room 

The Filter Room received information about raids from radar stations across the South East coast of Britain, and ‘filtered’ it – before passing it onto the Operations Rooms at Bentley Priory and at Group and Sector levels across the country.

An experimental Filter Room was initially created on the Lower Ground Floor at Bentley Priory, before a Filter Room was created on the Ground Floor in the ‘Ladies Room’ adjacent to the Operations Room. It was moved to a bunker on site, just before the Battle of Britain commenced in 1940.

A Filter Room within the Ladies Room has been recreated at the Museum.

The Operations Room  

The Operations Room at Bentley Priory received information about enemy raids from the Filter Room, which was complimented with information from the Observer Corps once the raids had passed from over the sea to over land.

The Operations Room at Bentley Priory was important because it gave an overview of the whole country. It was in the Operations Room that ACM Dowding monitored the intelligence required for vital decision making.

From 1937 until March 1940, the Operations Room was in the Mansion House at Bentley Priory. It was moved into an underground bunker at Bentley Priory, not long before the Battle of Britain commenced.

Black and white photograph of RAF Bentley Priory, Headquarters of Fighter Command