Battle of Britain Memorial Window, Rolls Royce, Derby
On 11th January 1949 a window was unveiled in the Front Hall of the Rolls-Royce factory in Derby. The window, pictured below, was intended to commemorate the extremely close ties between the airmen that flew with the RAF in the Battle of Britain and the staff of Rolls-Royce Derby, where the Merlin engine that powered the Spitfire and Hurricane was developed.
From 1949 until 2007, the window was located in the main foyer of Rolls-Royce's Nightingale Road factory in Derby, on the north wall, on the route up to the first floor.
The window was later transferred to the Rolls-Royce Learning and Development Centre in Derby. The window was re-dedicated on 31st October 2015, the 75th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Britain, in a service given by John Davies, Dean of Derby.
The window was designed by Hugh Easton (the Battle of Britain Memorial Window in Westminster Abbey was also his work) and made by him with the assistance of Robert Hendra and Geoffrey Harper. It was cut and glazed by TG Harris and Denis Harris. Easton described the window thus:
In the centre of the window stands the figure of a typical Fighter Pilot of the Royal Air Force. Ready for the Battle, in flying-boots and 'Mae West', his helmet in his hand, he stands on the spinner of an airscrew, its three blades dominating the lower part of the window. Behind it are stretched out in long lines the sheds and buildings of the Derby factory which produced these engines with which the pilots won the Battle of Britain. In the lower part, therefore, I have tried to symbolise the work of man's hands, the machine or, one might say, the structure, the bones and muscles. In the centre, I felt, the pilot should represent the brain. Above and behind him, with outstretched wings, ready to strike, is a golden eagle; here is the heart and spirit. Beyond, and framing the eagle and dominating all the top of the window, is the resplendent sun in all its glory, symbol of that for which the Battle was fought, and towards which Humanity lifts up her eyes.
For more information or to request a guided tour of the Rolls-Royce Derby Heritage display, then please email : [email protected]
The inscription at the bottom of the window reads:
THIS WINDOW COMMEMORATES THE PILOTS OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE WHO IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN TURNED THE WORK OF OUR HANDS INTO THE SALVATION OF OUR COUNTRY
Those who attended the 1949 dedication were given a commemorative brochure (below).