Preparations are well underway for this year’s annual tribute to the men of the Battle of Britain, whose skill and courage kept this country safe from invasion in 1940.
The yearly commemoration at the Battle of Britain Memorial, home to the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne in Kent, will take place on Sunday, 9 July and will again be a colourful spectacle tinged with sadness.
With veterans of the Battle now well into their nineties and increasingly frail, the the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust is honoured that two members of the Few, Wing Commander Paul Farnes and Flying Officer Ken Wilkinson, are hoping to be at the parade and service.
A flypast by aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will mark the start of the service that will this year mark 77 years since the battle in the skies that kept the Luftwaffe at bay. The aircraft will return for a longer display in the afternoon (weather permitting).
Music from the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment and from Kent Wing of the Air Training Corps will entertain the crowds as always, while the colourful spectacle will be enhanced by a parade of standards representing many of the ex-service veterans’ organisations from across the south of England.
The event is free to attend, with gates opening at 10am. The Wing, which includes the only paid-for attraction on the site, the impressive Scramble Experience, will be open before and after the parade and service.
Guest of honour will be the current Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier.
Visitors will also notice that the Trust is continuing to expand its clifftop tribute to the men of the Battle of Britain.