Talk:Never was so much owed by so many to so few

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This is the full text of the speech, not an encyclopedia entry about the speech. It belongs in WikiSource. Mr. Billion 08:53, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Done. Noel (talk) 18:50, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The current contents of this article are a shameless rip-off of Blood, toil, tears, and sweat, suitably modified for this speech. Noel (talk) 19:15, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Merge request[edit]

i thought it was stupid because i couldn't read a word! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:49, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Joshuarooney has suggested merging this article, yet he/she didn't state a reason for doing so. If we don't see a justification for this request soon, then we will have to remove the merge request. --rogerd 12:57, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Disagree with the article[edit]

The full quote (complete with 'in the field of human conflict') is the version I've heard most often and to say the other version is most frequently used in popular culture without a citation seems subjective and.. well, wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:03, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

I see your point, but it doesn't say most frequently used in popular culture, just that it is used in popular culture. When I wrote it it was actually meant more as an explanation for the poster immediately next to it (which is pretty good evidence). Ranger Steve (talk) 06:44, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Polish Divisions[edit]

I'v also heard that this statement was also directed toward Polish divisions (302, 303, 308 and some other if I remember correctly), which turned out to be the most effective (more than 100 enemies shot down, I don't know whether it was a total number, or a just a period taken into consideration). Anyway, I suggest investigating this issue by someone that has a knack for history. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:06, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Think you meant 'squadrons', not "divisions".
Without investigating, I'm dubious. If the stories of the genesis of this sentence are correct (that he composed it in the car on the way back from a visit to 11 Group's HQ during one of the big battles of September), I would be in little doubt that it refers to Fighter Command as a whole.
In so saying, I don't wish to denigrate the contribution of the Polish pilots (who were in other squadrons, too) - their contributions were heroic and enormous. Noel (talk) 02:02, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Possible Contradiction?[edit]

In the "Background" section;

"After several minutes of silence he said ‘Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few." (1)

This sentence precedes the quote:

"travelling together in a car, in which Winston rehearsed the speech he was to give in the House of Commons on 20 August 1940 after the Battle of Britain. When he came to the famous sentence, ‘Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to so few’, Ismay said ‘What about Jesus and his disciples?’ ‘Good old Pug,’ said Winston, who immediately changed the wording to ‘Never in the field of human conflict ....‘." (2)

Firstly, if there were several minutes of silence (from (1)), how could he have rehearsed his speech he was to give in the House of Commons (from (2))? Secondly, if these were two separate incidents, and (1) chronologically preceded (2) (as given in the text of the article), why do the sentences change? It is firstly: "Never in the field of human conflict" (from (1)), which then becomes "Never in the history of mankind" (from (2)) which finally reverts to Never in the field of human conflict" (from (2)).

These quotations are contradictory in both cases. Possibly shady sources? Another possibility is that in (1), the phrase "Never in the field of human conflict" should be "Never in the history of mankind"?

Thanks for your time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lightpuma (talkcontribs) 11:07, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

I inserted the information in the first version of events (some time ago I think). I don't think the source is shady but equally I didn't think the other one is either, so I did not delete it in preference of the version I added. I think that the reader should be able to work out that there are two different versions of the line's genesis being given here. Still, I'll amend it to make it clearer Ranger Steve Talk 11:40, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Bombers vs Fighters[edit]

The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day, but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate, careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power. On no part of the Royal Air Force does the weight of the war fall more heavily than on the daylight bombers who will play an invaluable part in the case of invasion and whose unflinching zeal it has been necessary in the meanwhile on numerous occasions to restrain…

I have removed a sentence from the lead stating coldly that Churchill was referring to Bomber Command. This was supported by the opinion of a single person and is not in agreement with the generally accepted view and that of other historians.

I have included the relevant section of the speech above, from which we can see that Churchill was clearly referring to both the fighters and the bombers. Individual historians may have their own differing opinions on which was the most important and which Churchill was really referring to but I suggest that, in the lead, we just refer to the airmen more generally. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:17, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Polish Air Force[edit]

I reverted the addition of Polish Air Force. The Polish, along with many other nationalities, made a great contribution to the Battle of Britain but is would be impractical to name them all here so it is best to have. They are all acknowledged in the Battle of Britain article.

In fact the Polish airmen fought as members of the RAF so the Polish Air Force as such were not combatants. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:53, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

The first Polish squadron, No.303, was not operational until 31 August, well after the date of the speech. But the Poles were in training for the task and no doubt Churchill meant to include all Commonwealth and Allied aircrew in his remarks. Then again he also very explicitly included Bomber Command, whose work the public did not see. Hardly anyone remembers that, but the lead seems to be correct to say that, despite taking his original inspiration from the ops room at 11 Group, he was talking about the RAF as a whole. Khamba Tendal (talk) 08:59, 2 August 2017 (UTC)