Motorsport or motor sport is a global term used to encompass the group of competitive sporting events which involve the use of motorised vehicles, whether for racing or non-racing competition. The terminology can be used to describe forms of competition of two-wheeled motorised vehicles under the banner of motorcycle racing, includes off-road racing such as motocross. Four- wheeled motorsport competition is globally governed by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile; the Union Internationale Motonautique governs powerboat racing while the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale governs air sports. In 1894, a French newspaper organised a race from Paris to Rouen and back, starting city to city racing. In 1900, the Gordon Bennett Cup was established. Closed circuit racing arose. Brooklands was the first dedicated motor racing track in the United Kingdom. Following World War I, European countries organised Grand Prix races over closed courses. In the United States, dirt track racing became popular.
After World War II, the Grand Prix circuit became more formally organised. In the United States, stock car racing and drag racing became established. Motorsports became divided by types of motor vehicles into racing events, their appropriate organisations. Motor racing is the subset of motorsport activities which involve competitors racing against each other; the Red Bull RB8, the 2012 Formula One World Championship winning car Formula racing is a set of classes of motor vehicles, with their wheels outside, not contained by, any bodywork of their vehicle. These have been globally classified as specific'Formula' series - the most common being Formula One, many others include the likes of Formula 3, Formula Ford, Formula Renault and Formula Palmer Audi. However, in North America, the IndyCar series is their pinnacle open-wheeled racing series. More new open-wheeled series have been created, originating in Europe, which omit the'Formula' moniker, such as GP2 and GP3. Former ` Formula' series include Formula Two.
Formula One is a class of single-seat and open-wheel grand prix closed course racing, governed by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, organized by the owned company Formula One Group. The formula regulations contain a strict set of rules which govern vehicle power and size. Formula E is a class of open-wheel auto racing; the series was conceived in 2012, the inaugural championship started in Beijing on 13 September 2014. The series is sanctioned by the FIA and races a spec chassis/battery combination with manufacturers allowed to develop their own electric power-trains; the series has gained significant traction in recent years. A series originated on June 1909 in Portland, Oregon at its first race. Shortly after, Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened in 1909 and held races that ranged from 50-200 miles, its premier race is the Indianapolis 500 which began on May 11th, 1911 and a tradition was born. Today, Indycar operates a full schedule with over 40 different drivers; the current schedule includes 14 tracks over the course of 17 races per season.
Josef Newgarden was crowned current champion of the Indycar Series at Sonoma Raceway on September 17th, 2017 in Sonoma, California. Enclosed wheel racing is a set of classes of vehicles, where the wheels are enclosed inside the bodywork of the vehicle, similar to a North American'stock car'. Sports car racing is a set of classes of vehicles, over a closed course track, including sports cars, specialised racing types; the premiere race is the 24 Hours of Le Mans which takes place annually in France during the month of June. Sports car racing rules and specifications differentiate in North America from established international sanctioning bodies. Stock car racing is a set of vehicles that race over a speedway track, organized by NASCAR. While once stock cars, the vehicles are now purpose built, but resemble the body design and shape of production cars. Bootleggers throughout the Carolinas are credited for the origins of NASCAR due to the resistance during the prohibition. Many of the vehicles were modified to increase top speed and handling, to provide the bootleggers with an advantage toward the vehicles local law enforcement would use in the area.
An important part to the modifications of stock cars, was to increase the performance of the vehicle while maintaining the same exterior look giving it the name Stock car racing. Many legends in NASCAR originated as bootleggers in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina like Junior Johnson. Organized oval racing began on Daytona Beach in Florida as a hobby but gained interest from all over the country; as oval racing became larger and larger, a group gathered in hopes to form a sanctioning body for the sport. NASCAR was organized in 1947. Daytona Beach and Road Course was founded where land speed records were set on the beach, including part of A1A; the highlight of the stock car calendar is the season-opening Daytona 500 nicknamed'The Great American Race', held at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. NASCAR has now held over 2,500 sanctioned events over the course of 70 seasons. Richard Petty is known as the king of NASCAR with over 200 recorded wins in the series and has competed in 1,184 races in his career.
Touring car racing is a set of vehicles, modified street cars, that race over closed purpose built race tracks and street courses. Off-Road Racing is a group
The Rootes Group or Rootes Motors Limited was a British automobile manufacturer and, separately a major motor distributors and dealers business. Run from London's West End, they were based in the Midlands and south of England. In the decade beginning 1928 the Rootes brothers and Reginald, made prosperous by their successful distribution and servicing business, were keen to enter manufacturing for closer control of the products they were selling. One brother has been termed the other the steering and braking system. With the financial support of Prudential Assurance, the two brothers bought some well-known British motor manufacturers, including Hillman, Singer, Talbot and Karrier, controlling them through their parent, Rootes' 60-per-cent-owned subsidiary, Humber Limited. At its height in 1960, Rootes had manufacturing plants in the Midlands at Coventry and Birmingham, in southern England at Acton and Dunstable, a brand-new plant in the west of Scotland at Linwood. From its offices in Devonshire House, Piccadilly, in London it controlled exports and international distribution for Rootes and other motor manufacturers and its own local distribution and service operations in London, Kent and Manchester.
There were assembly plants in nine countries outside the UK. Rootes Group was under-capitalised and unable to survive industrial relations problems and losses from the 1963 introduction of a new aluminium-engined small car, the Hillman Imp. By mutual agreement, from mid-1964, Rootes Motors was taken over in stages by Chrysler Corporation, which bought control from the Rootes family in 1967. By the end of 1978 the last of the various elements of Chrysler UK had been sold to Peugeot and Renault. Rootes was founded in Hawkhurst, Kent, in 1913 by William Rootes as a car sales agency independent from his father's Hawkhurst motor business. Rootes had moved his operations to Maidstone by 1914 and there he contracted to repair aero engines. In 1917 he formed Rootes Limited to buy the Maidstone branch of his father's motor business, founded by his father in 1897, to expand his aircraft engine repair business and the manufacture of aircraft parts. In 1919 the distribution of cars and commercial vehicles resumed and operations extended to London and other part of the country.
As early as 1924 Rootes had become the largest car distributor in the United Kingdom. They advertised that their showrooms in Devonshire House Piccadilly could supply new cars priced from £145 to £3,000 manufactured by Rolls-Royce, Sunbeam, Hillman, Fiat or Clyno. A particular effort was put into overseas sales and it became clear the export opportunities warranted a move into car manufacture, achieved in 1928 by the purchase of controlling interests in first Hillman Motor Car Company Limited followed a year by Humber Limited and Commercial Cars Limited. Hillman and Commer were made wholly owned subsidiaries of Humber Limited and the Rootes brothers' holding became 60 percent of the Humber ordinary shares; the Rootes brothers could now show their ability to manufacture handsome cars with a strong sales appeal. Humber Cycles There was a resurgence in domestic and export demand for pedal bicycles, in February 1932 Raleigh acquired all the Humber cycles trade marks. Manufacture was transferred to Raleigh's Nottingham works.
Rootes Securities Limited Rootes Limited was renamed Rootes Securities Limited in 1933. During the Depression more businesses were picked up as they came available: Karrier Motors Limited 1934, Sunbeam Motor Company Limited 1934, Clement Talbot Limited 1934 and British Light Steel Pressings Limited 1937 were all bought and made subsidiaries of Humber Limited. London's Mayfair coachbuilders and Rolls-Royce and Daimler dealers Thrupp & Maberly Limited had been bought in 1926 their royal warrant always proudly displayed. Home and export division and overseas interests A new Rootes Limited was incorporated in 1933 to hold the profitable core business of the Rootes brothers: the motor distribution and servicing functions, its extension and development of export markets, it had been the largest truck and car distributor in the United Kingdom in 1924 and generated the capital to buy manufacturer Hillman, merge Hillman with manufacturer Humber and give the Rootes brothers control of Humber and the manufacturing subsidiaries they would have Humber buy.
Overseas representation of British motor manufacturers was not limited to group members. Ownership and control, Rootes family Rootes Motors Limited was the new name assumed 16 November 1949 of holding company Rootes Securities Limited; the whole of 1917's initial capital had been provided by the two Rootes brothers. Thereafter the business's expansion was financed by retained profits supplemented where necessary, for example the purchase of Hillman, by loans from The Prudential Assurance Company Limited and the company's bankers principally Midland Bank. On 24 November 1949 shares in Rootes Motors Limited were issued to the public in exchange for £3,025,000. Rootes was now a public listed company and the new capital repaid the Prudential and Midland Bank loans; the listed shares however were preference shares. The equity capital remained in the hands of the Rootes family now with new partner Prudential who had taken up all of the offered £1,000,000 of ordinary shares. External shareholders continued to hold a large proportion of Humber Limited.
The preference shares issued to the public by Humber remained listed. In addition there were external shareholdings in the Rootes Acceptances vehicle exporting business and in Automobile Products of India Limited. At this time employees totalled 17,000. Rootes owned, on average, about 80 per cent of the capital of its subsidiaries; the manufacturing subsidiaries were held
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in the south east of England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region. In 2013, the county had a population of 1,140,700 in an area of 634 square miles; the four towns that have between 50,000 and 100,000 residents are Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans. Hertford, once the main market town for the medieval agricultural county, derives its name from a hart and a ford, used as the components of the county's coat of arms and flag. Elevations are high for the region in the west; these reach over 800 feet in the western projection around Tring, in the Chilterns. The county's borders are the watersheds of the Colne and Lea. Hertfordshire's undeveloped land is agricultural and much is protected by green belt; the county's landmarks span many centuries, ranging from the Six Hills in the new town of Stevenage built by local inhabitants during the Roman period, to Leavesden Film Studios.
The volume of intact medieval and Tudor buildings surpasses London, in places in well-preserved conservation areas in St Albans which includes some remains of Verulamium, the town where in the 3rd century an early recorded British martyrdom took place. Saint Alban, a Romano-British soldier, took the place of a Christian priest and was beheaded on Holywell Hill, his martyr's cross of a yellow saltire on a blue field is reflected in the flag and coat of arms of Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire is well-served with railways, providing good access to London; the largest sector of the economy of the county is in services. Hertfordshire was the area assigned to a fortress constructed at Hertford under the rule of Edward the Elder in 913. Hertford is derived from meaning deer crossing; the name Hertfordshire is first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1011. Deer feature in many county emblems. There is evidence of humans living in Hertfordshire from the Mesolithic period, it was first farmed during the Neolithic period and permanent habitation appeared at the beginning of the Bronze Age.
This was followed by tribes settling in the area during the Iron Age. Following the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, the aboriginal Catuvellauni submitted and adapted to the Roman life. Saint Alban, a Romano-British soldier, took the place of a Christian priest and was beheaded on Holywell Hill, his martyr's cross of a yellow saltire on a blue field is reflected in the flag and coat of arms of Hertfordshire as the yellow field to the stag or Hart representing the county. He is the Patron Saint of Hertfordshire. With the departure of the Roman Legions in the early 5th century, the now unprotected territory was invaded and colonised by the Anglo-Saxons. By the 6th century the majority of the modern county was part of the East Saxon kingdom; this short lived kingdom collapsed in the 9th century, ceding the territory of Hertfordshire to the control of the West Anglians of Mercia. The region became an English shire in the 10th century, on the merger of the West Saxon and Mercian kingdoms. A century William of Normandy received the surrender of the surviving senior English Lords and Clergy at Berkhamsted, resulting in a new Anglicised title of William the Conqueror before embarking on an uncontested entry into London and his coronation at Westminster.
Hertfordshire was used for some of the new Norman castles at Bishop's Stortford, at King's Langley, a staging post between London and the royal residence of Berkhamsted. The Domesday Book recorded the county as having nine hundreds. Tring and Danais became one—Dacorum—from Danis Corum or Danish rule harking back to a Viking not Saxon past; the other seven were Braughing, Cashio, Hertford and Odsey. The first shooting-down of a zeppelin over Great Britain during WW1 happened in Cuffley; as London grew, Hertfordshire became conveniently close to the English capital. However, the greatest boost to Hertfordshire came during the Industrial Revolution, after which the population rose dramatically. In 1903, Letchworth became the world's first garden city and Stevenage became the first town to redevelop under the New Towns Act 1946. From the 1920s until the late 1980s, the town of Borehamwood was home to one of the major British film studio complexes, including the MGM-British Studios. Many well-known films were made here including the first three Star Wars movies.
The studios used the name of Elstree. American director Stanley Kubrick not only used to shoot in those studios but lived in the area until his death. Big Brother UK and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? have been filmed there. EastEnders is filmed at Elstree. Hertfordshire has seen development at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden. On 17 October 2000, the Hatfield rail crash killed four people with over 70 injured; the crash exposed the shortcomings of Railtrack, which saw speed restrictions and major track replacement. On 10 May 2002, the second of the Potters Bar rail accidents occurred killing seven people.
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain; the RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence, which are to "provide the capabilities needed to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism. The RAF describes its mission statement as "... an agile and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission". The mission statement is supported by the RAF's definition of air power.
Air power is defined as "the ability to project power from the air and space to influence the behaviour of people or the course of events". Today the Royal Air Force maintains an operational fleet of various types of aircraft, described by the RAF as being "leading-edge" in terms of technology; this consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including: fighter and strike aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, ISTAR and SIGINT aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and strategic and tactical transport aircraft. The majority of the RAF's rotary-wing aircraft form part of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command in support of ground forces. Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations or at long-established overseas bases. Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps deliver air power, integrated into the maritime and land environments. While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control.
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. At that time it was the largest air force in the world. After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire; the RAF's naval aviation branch, the Fleet Air Arm, was founded in 1924 but handed over to Admiralty control on 24 May 1939. The RAF developed the doctrine of strategic bombing which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became its main bombing strategy in the Second World War; the RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations.
Many individual personnel from these countries, exiles from occupied Europe served with RAF squadrons. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had contributed more than 30 squadrons to serve in RAF formations approximately a quarter of Bomber Command's personnel were Canadian. Additionally, the Royal Australian Air Force represented around nine percent of all RAF personnel who served in the European and Mediterranean theatres. In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe. In what is the most prolonged and complicated air campaign in history, the Battle of Britain contributed to the delay and subsequent indefinite postponement of Hitler's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom. In the House of Commons on 20 August, prompted by the ongoing efforts of the RAF, Prime Minister Winston Churchill eloquently made a speech to the nation, where he said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".
The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. While RAF bombing of Germany began immediately upon the outbreak of war, under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became devastating from 1942 onward as new technology and greater numbers of superior aircraft became available; the RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho. Following victory in the Second World War, the RAF underwent significant re-organisation, as technological advances in air warfare saw the arrival of jet fighters and bombers. During the early stages of the Cold War, one of the first major operations undertaken by the Royal Air Force was in 1948 and the Berlin Airlift, codenamed Operation Plainfire. Between 26 June and the lifting of the Russian blockade of the city on 2 May, the RAF provided 17% of the total supplies delivered du
Stevenage is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, 28 miles north of London. Stevenage is east of junctions 7 and 8 of the A1, between Letchworth Garden City to the north and Welwyn Garden City to the south. In 1946, Stevenage was designated the United Kingdom's first New Town under the New Towns Act. Stevenage may derive from Old English stiþen āc / stiðen āc / stithen ac meaning' the stiff oak'; the name was recorded as c. 1060 and Stigenace in 1086 in the Domesday Book. Stevenage lies near the line of the Roman road from Verulamium to Baldock; some Romano-British remains were discovered during the building of the New Town, a hoard of 2,000 silver Roman coins was discovered in 1986 during new house building in the Chells Manor area. The most substantial evidence of activity from Roman times is Six Hills, six tumuli by the side of the old Great North Road – the burial places of a local family. A little to the east of the Roman sites the first Saxon camp was made in a clearing in the woods where the church, manor house and the first village were built.
Settlements sprang up in Chells and Shephall. In the Domesday Book the Lord of the Manor was the Abbot of Westminster Abbey; the settlement had moved down to the Great North Road and in 1281 it was granted a Royal Charter to hold a weekly market and annual fair. The earliest part of St Nicholas' Church dates from the 12th century but it was a site of worship much earlier; the known list of priests or rectors is complete from 1213. The remains of a medieval moated homestead in Whomerley Wood is an 80-yard-square trench 5 feet wide in parts, it was the home of Ralph de Homle, both Roman and pottery has been found there. Around 1500 the Church was much improved, with the addition of a clerestory. In 1558 Thomas Alleyne, a rector of the town, founded a free grammar school for boys, Alleyne's Grammar School, despite becoming a boys' comprehensive school in 1967, had an unbroken existence until 1989 when it merged with Stevenage Girls' School to become the Thomas Alleyne School. Francis Cammaerts was headmaster of Alleyne's Grammar School from 1952 to 1961.
The school, since 1989 a mixed comprehensive school and is now an Academy as of 2013, still exists on its original site at the north end of the High Street. It was intended to move the school to Great Ashby, but the Coalition government proposed scrapping the move owing to budget cuts. Stevenage's prosperity came in part from the North Road, turnpiked in the early 18th century. Many inns in the High Street served the stage coaches, 21 of which passed through Stevenage each day in 1800. In 1857 the Great Northern Railway was constructed, the era of the stage coach had ended. Stevenage grew only throughout the 19th century and a second church was constructed at the south end of the High Street. In 1861 Dickens commented, "The village street was like most other village streets: wide for its height, silent for its size, drowsy in the dullest degree; the quietest little dwellings with the largest of window-shutters to shut up nothing as if it were the Mint or the Bank of England." In 1928 Philip Vincent bought the HRD Motorcycle Co Ltd out of receivership moving it to Stevenage and renaming it the Vincent HRD Motorcycle Co Ltd.
He produced the legendary motorcycles, including the Black Shadow and Black Lightning, in the town until 1955. Slow growth in Stevenage continued until just after the Second World War, when the Abercrombie Plan called for the establishment of a ring of new towns around London. On 1 August 1946, Stevenage was designated the first New Town under the New Towns Act; the plan was not popular and local people protested at a meeting held in the town hall before Lewis Silkin, minister in the Labour Government of Clement Attlee. As Lewis Silkin arrived at the railway station for this meeting, some local people had changed the signs'Stevenage' to'Silkingrad'. Silkin was obstinate at the meeting, telling a crowd of 3,000 people outside the town hall: "It's no good your jeering, it's going to be done." Despite the hostile reaction to Silkin and a referendum that showed 52%'entirely against' the expansion, the plan went ahead. Although the Commission for the New Towns declared the Old Town would not be touched, the first significant building to be demolished to make way for a gyratory system was indeed the Old Town Hall, in which the opposition had been expressed.
In 1949 the radical town planner Dr Monica Felton became Chairman of the Stevenage Development Corporation but she was sacked within two years. There were a number of reasons for her dismissal by the government but a lack of hands-on town planning leadership and her opposition to the Korean War sullied her reputation. Felton was replaced first by Allan Duff and Thomas Bennett, who carried the project to completion. Gordon Stephenson was the planner, Peter Shepheard the architect, Eric Claxton the engineer. Claxton took the attitude that the new town should separate bicycles from the automobile as much as possible. In keeping with the sociological outlook of the day, the town was planned with six self-contained neighbourhoods; the first two of these to be occupied were the Stoney Hall and Monks Wood'Estates', in 1951. The Twin Foxes pub, on the Monks