This film is part of Free

Britain's RAF: The Royal Air Force

Britain's fighter pilots get a bombastic backing in this high-octane spectacle.

Documentary 1940 18 mins


The approaching Battle of Britain is the cue for the RAF recruitment drive in this edition of March of Time, as "the one nation Hitler does not want to fight" prepares to do just that. There's definite gravity behind the implication that the Air Force urgently needed new pilots, and the devices employed are rather sensational – with airborne action shots and dramatic re-enactments aplenty.

Apparently it was time to stop being a nation of shopkeepers. March of Time seldom minced its words, although some of its tactics could work in subtler ways. Here, views of the British countryside, mentions of the empire and the strains of Land of Hope and Glory stir up patriotic feelings. But for modern viewers, it's most poignant to hear the Second World War described – at this early point - in terms of months rather than years.