Bentley Priory 6 July 19

An Audience with Dilip Sarkar MBE and special guest Andy Long.

The former stately home of Bentley Priory is hallowed ground indeed for Battle of Britain enthusiasts – for this was the HQ of Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, Air Officer Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command, and location of the Fighter Command Operations Room. Now private residencies, this wonderful building hosts a unique Museum – which Dilip Sarkar is proud to support: all proceeds from ticket sales go to the Museum.

At this event, Dilip’s latest book, Spitfire!, will be released – a 130,000 word and nearly 300 photographic chronicle of 19 Squadron during our Finest Hour.

Dilip is also delighted to welcome to the stage his old friend, the author and historian Andy Long, with whom he began this incredible journey many years ago.


1100 hrs – Spitfire Squadron!  

Pilots of 19 Squadron snapped at Fowlmere in August 1940 – just one of hundreds of unique photographs in Dilip’s extensive archive.

Dilip’s uniquely illustrated session on 19 Squadron during the Dunkirk and Battle of Britain period, emphasising the inspirational but tragic story of Squadron Leader Brian Lane DFC.

1200 hrs – Dilip will sign copies of his new book, Spitfire!, published by Pen & Sword.

1400 hrs – Defiant: The Forgotten Hero.

Author & Historian Andy Long with the Kent Battle of Britain Museum’s replica Defiant.

Andy Long is a well-known aviation historian who has worked with Dilip Sarkar since the pair embarked on their respective research journeys in the early 1980s – when Andy was 14! The pair co-founded the former Malvern Spitfire Team, an innovative and visionary initiative highly respected for original research.  Author of The Faithful Few: Worcestershire’s Fighter Boys (Victory Books, 2007), Andy is currently working on a new book for publication by Pen & Sword, concerning the somewhat unsung two-seater Boulton-Paul Defiant fighter.

For the first time, in his presentation Defiant: The Forgotten Hero, Andy shares with us some of the unique material collated thus far for this important project. Majoring on the development and operation of the Defiant from 1939 until the end of 1940, Andy covers the initial design specification, development of the four machine-gun armed turret, tactics, and type’s combat history during the Dunkirk campaign and the Battle of Britain. The conclusion of this fascinating and profusely illustrated presentation concerns the Defiant’s transition from day-fighter to stop-gap – essential – night-fighter.

A superb study of a Defiant from Andy’s collection.

1530 hrs: I Knew the Few.

Dilip’s second presentation, I Knew the Few, is uniquely illustrated with photographs from the personal albums of a selection of Battle of Britain pilots Dilip enjoyed friendships with over many years. In fact, in 1997, Dilip was the Battle of Britain Fighter Association’s guest at that year’s annual reunion dinner; having dined that evening with over 100 of the Few, it is a sad indictment of the march of time that only a handful of Association members remain with us. Dilip’s memories of his friendships with these wonderful men are a rich treasure-trove of anecdotal information – and a historical source in their own right.

Some of the Few and Dr Gordon Mitchell, son of Spitfire designer ‘RJ’, at a Dilip Sarkar book launch and lecture in 1992.

Please see the event listing on the Bentley Priory Museum website here:-

For ticket bookings: –