AJO History of Ophthalmology Series

Bilberry and the Royal Air Force
        Winston Churchill’s best remembered quote was uttered in a speech to the House of Commons on August 20, 1940 after the French surrender (“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”). On the same page as the tribute to the Royal Air Force (RAF), Churchill mentions the penetration of British bombers deep into Germany in the dark of night. The Germans did not have the radar that was vital to the British defenses. Some suggest that to hide the existence of radar the British circulated rumors to be picked up by German spies that RAF pilots were taking bilberry to improve their night vision. The idea that bilberry may help retinal problems, although undocumented, persists even today.
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