7 JUNE 1940, Page 6


IT is a pity that there should be any kind of misunderstand- ing between the B.E.F., or, rather, individual members of it, and the Royal Air Force. But comment that during the em- barkations at Dunkirk the R.A.F. was very rarely in evidence has been widely prevalent, and the facts of the case have not been explained quite as promptly as they should have been. One fact is that the R.A.F. is inferior in numbers to the German Air Force, and its fighters cannot be everywhere. Another is that it obviously has been considerably in evidence at Dunkirk, as the figures of the losses inflicted on the German machines in the Dunkirk area show. Another is that British fighters were often engaged with enemy fighters high above the enemy bombers, and therefore comparatively invisible. Finally, it would be astonishing if men submitted to the hideous ordeal of waiting for hours defenceless on the pier or the beaches with German planes raining bombs around them were not tempted to speak with some bitterness of the impunity which the German machines seemed to enjoy. The conclu- sion would appear to be that British fighters were in the air over Dunkirk part of the time, but not all the time, and that we have naturally heard a good deal about the time when they were not. * * * *