The Spirit of The Few Monument

Finally we, the Kent Battle of Britain Museum Trust at Hawkinge, have our JustGiving Page up and running for the the 'Spirit of The Few' Monument.

We need your help in achieving this, so if you would kindly give some thought to donating towards this project, however big or small, we will be very grateful.

To donate please visit our JustGiving page here.

Or by using the JustGiving app with the QR code here:

The Spirit of the Few Monument now complete. - 30 July 2022.

And then all seven of them werre re-united at Hawkinge, just a few metres from where the original photo was taken.

Memorial was unveiled on 29 July 2022, see our News section for more details of that event.

Unveiled with 72 family members of the seven airmen attending the event.

£117,458.57 - 78.31% - now raised for the Spirit of the Few Monument. You can Donate here to help raise the final £32,541.68 remaining.

P/O Douglas ‘Grubby’ Grice, the fifth of the seven life-size bronze sculptures, was added to our awesome and inspiring ‘Spirit of The Few’ Monument.

£86,862.87 - 57.9% - now raised for the Spirit of the Few Monument. You can Donate here to help raise the remaining £63,137.13 needed.

£83,841.62 Donations received - 12 May 2022.

We are pleased to announce that we have now received £83,841.62 - 55.9% - in donations of the required £150,000.00 for our Spirit of the Few Monument.

Thank you all who have already kindly donated to supported this outstanding Monument - just £66,158.38 more to now raise from donations.

P/O John E. Proctor joins the Spirit of the Few Monument - 12 May 2022.

P/O John E. Proctor, the fourth of the seven life-size bronze sculptures, was added to our awesome and inspiring ‘Spirit of The Few’ Monument.

F/Lt Pete Brothers joins the Spirit of the Few Monument - 13 April 2022.

F/Lt Pete Brothers, the third sculpture has now joining Keith Gillman and Peter Gardner at the Spirit of the Few Monument.

Nearly complete - Pilot Officer Alan Eckford - 11 April 2022.

The day that Nick Eckford, the son of P/O Alan Eckford, was introduced to his father’s life-size clay sculpture!

Stephen Melton(left) and Nick Eckford with the sculpture of P/O Alan Eckford.

Nick arrived at SPACER's studo where he was met my Museum Chairman Dave Brocklehurst MBE, and introduced to Stephen Melton, the sculpter, and shown the sculpture of his late father. This is always a very nervous time for Dave, and we would expect the same for Stephen, waiting to see the first reaction of the family. This being the sixth of the seven sculptures and therefore the sixth time that a family had visited, to view the sculpture of their respective loved one.

You would think Dave would have been use to this by now, but we can assure he was as nervous as the very first visit, all those months again. There of course was no need for the nerves, as Nick’s face immediately lit up and you could see by his expression that he was very happy with it. Nick together with his brothers and sister were a little concerned that the sculptures cheeks might have been a little plump, but Stephen had already addressed this, and Nick was happy enough to confirm, on behalf of the family, that they were happy with the face and that Stephen could treat this as being completed.

Three weeks old, the 6th sculpture - Pilot Officer Alan Eckford - 21 March 2022.

On Monday 21st March 2022 Dave made his usual weekly visit to SPACER to see our incredibly talented sculptor, Stephen Melton, and see the weeks progress on all the elements of the ‘Spirit of The Few’ Monument.

Stephen has been very busy over the last week progressing the clay sculpture of the sixth figure and that of P/O Alan Eckford and including reworking a lot of the torso and head. On Monday Stephen was three weeks in on the six-week creative build of each sculpture.

Pilot Officer Peter M. Gardner returns to Hawkinge! - 14 March 2022.

Today Pilot Officer Peter M. Gardner, the second of the seven sculptures, was collected from SPACER and brought to the Kent Battle of Britain Musem to join Pilot Officer Keith Gillman.

Pilot Officer Keith Gillman comes home! - 1 March 2022.

Today the first of the seven sculptures - Pilot Officer Keith Gillman - was brought to the Kent Battle of Britain Musem.

The sculptures of P/O Peter Gardener, F/Lt Peter Brothers and P/O Keith Gilman now awaiting the final process, that of the patination, or colouring of the bronze, 1 February 2022.

Statue 5 - P/O Douglas ‘Grubby’ Grice - 1 week old, 17 January 2022.

Statue 2 - F/Lt Peter Brothers - cast, assembled awaiting final fettling, 5 January 2022.

Statue 3 - P/O Pete Gardner - completed, 30 October 2021.

Statue 2 - Flt/Lt Pete Brothers - completed, 11 September 2021.

Statue 2 - Flt/Lt Pete Brothers - started, 26 July 2021.

Statue 1 - P/O Keith Gillman - completed, 23 July 2021.

The reaction of Suzanne Gillman, niece of Keith Gillman, on seeing her uncle's scupture for the first time on 19 July 2019 - 'Amazing'

The story behind The Spirit of the Few Monument

The Volunteers at the Kent Battle of Britain Museum Trust at Hawkinge are incredibly excited, pleased, and proud to announce our latest and most significant project in the fifty-six year history of the Museum. It will see the creation of a permanent Monument to our heroes The Few within the Museum Grounds.

The Monument will represent the seven airmen of No. 32 Squadron who were famously photographed at RAF Hawkinge on 29th July 1940 and taken only a couple of hundred yards from where the Museum is now housed. The Monument will see the airmen created in life-size and cast in bronze.

The idea was thought up by Dave Brocklehurst MBE thirty odd years ago. For around twenty years we have had the three Gate Guardian Hurricanes on display as a centre piece in the Museum Grounds and every time Dave walks past, he has visualised the seven airmen in bronze in front, with the backdrop of these Hurricanes. So much so that ten years ago he did a pencil sketch of what he imagined it would look like!

Fast forward to May this year when Dave had a serious accident at the Museum. This caused him to focus on several major projects he has always wanted to progress. After chatting with his fellow Trustees and Volunteers, all of whom were excited by this idea, he sorted various quotes from sculptors around the country to see if this was a viable project. From a suggestion by Jane Priston of the Amy Johnson Project, SPACER from Thanet were one of those who quoted. Dave was aware of the quality of their work from the Amy Johnson statue on the Herne Bay Seafront and the Gurkha Memorial in Folkestone. We also liked the idea of the Amy Johnson Memorial not being on a plinth so that the public can interact with the figure. This will be a feature of our own Monument so the figures will be displayed sitting on the original grass of Hawkinge Airfield.

Luckily for us, SPACER came up with the most realistic quote and will carry out all phases of the work in-house at their studio at Newington. From sculpturing in clay, to moulding and the casting in bronze. They are also less than 40 minutes away from the Museum, so we can keep a careful eye on every step of the process and Spacers can visit us for inspiration and for all the research that will be required to make each figure as realistic and accurate as possible.

The Monument is planned to be unveiled on Friday 29th July 2022, the 82nd Anniversary of the famous and iconic photograph being taken.