However politically incorrect it may be to some, I like many others have felt super proud and thankful today of Britain and her allies triumph during the infamous Battle of Britain.
I’m also feeling very proud of Elva and her artistic legacy.
80 years is a long time and I have seen many comments on social media saying, “enough already” “stop celebrating war” “the Germans don’t boast about their kills so why do the allied nations?”
It’s simple in my view and it isn’t about celebrating kills, or war, or anything of the sort. It’s about celebrating the underdog, and Britain’s stoic refusal to be bullied is nothing to be ashamed of.
Families take comfort from these anniversaries. It’s a time to pause and reflect on the past and be quietly thankful for the sacrifice of their ancestors.
On Sunday, the BBC aired an Antiques Roadshow Battle of Britain and Blitz special and I was kindly invited to share some of my Elva knowledge. Naturally I was thrilled by the invitation but am even more delighted by the people who have been kind enough to contact me since.
Two people so far have identified a relative in Elva’s paintings and it occurs to me that there must be thousands of families who have no idea that their ancestor had their portrait done during the war.
With this in mind, I have gained permission from the RAF Museum Hendon to publish their entire catalogue of Elva’s work. The images are low res for now but there are plans to digitalise the collection in the near future. In the mean-time though, if you know an ancestor served in the RAF or WAAF at Biggin Hill or Manston during WW2 then please do have a look through. Many of the sketches are unidentified and it would be amazing to put some more names to the faces.
Click the button below to view the PDF file