Design

The memorial was designed by Sir Edward Maufe, the Commission's Principal Architect for the United Kingdom after the Second World War. His aim was to create an atmosphere of quiet and intimacy.

 

Through the entrance is a courtyard containing a Stone of Remembrance, and opposite, a shrine – the design of which is similar to the control towers crews would have seen when returning to base. The shrine is adorned with three stone figures by Vernon Hill representing Justice, Victory and Courage.

The shrine is embraced by a cloister in which the names of the dead are recorded. The names of the missing, grouped according to the year of death, are inscribed on the stone panels, giving the impression of partly opened stone books. The coats of arms of the Commonwealth countries are represented on the cloister ceilings. The cloisters have curved wings terminating in two lookouts.

Engraved on the great north window of the shrine are words from the 139th Psalm, sometimes called the Airman's Psalm.

Above the angels flanking the text are engraved vapour trails taken from photographs of the sky over England during the Battle of Britain. The design is by John Hutton, also responsible for the painted ceilings of the shrine and lookouts which depict the four winds, the planets and the phases of the moon scattered with stars.

From the shrine, two staircases lead to a gallery. There is a poem engraved on a window written soon after the memorial was completed by a student, Paul H Scott. From the gallery, a further staircase leads to the roof of the tower which is surmounted by an Astral Crown of blue and gold.

Architects and Designers

Sir Edward Maufe, Vernon Hill, John Hutton

​Sir Edward Maufe

Sir Edward Maufe

The British architect was born in 1882. He was the Commission’s Principal Architect for the United Kingdom after the Second World War. He designed the Air Forces Memorial at Cooper's Hill overlooking Runnymede in Surrey (also known as Runnymede Memorial) and the extensions to Tower Hill Memorial and the naval memorials at Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham.