Lord Hugh Dowding, Air Chief Marshall of the Royal Air Force, Head of Fighter Command, First Baron of Bentley Priory, lived in the grip of unseen spirits. In thrall of the supernatural world, he talked to the ghosts of his dead pilots, proclaimed that Hitler was defeated only by the personal intervention of God, and believed in the existence of fairies. How could it be that such a man should be put in charge of evaluating technical developments for the British air ministry? Yet it was he, fighting the inertia of the bureaucrats who ruled the Air Force, who brought the modern multi-gunned fighter into existence. And he insisted that his scientists investigate the mysterious invisible rays that would prove to be the salvation of Britain: radar.
Dowding, who provided the organization and training that led to victory, has been all but ignored by U. S. biographers of Churchill and historians of the Battle of Britain. Yet his story is vital, both for its importance to the defense of Britain-indeed the entire free world--and for the intriguing character study that emerges from his ongoing conflict with Churchill and the British government during the crisis years of the empire.