RAF Boulmer personnel joined North East military veterans to mark the 73rd Anniversary of the Battle of Britain at a Service and Parade in Newcastle.
The Service of Thanksgiving was held in the Banqueting Hall of the Civic Centre with music provided by the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment.
Guests included the Sheriff of Newcastle, Councillor George Pattinson; the Deputy Lords Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear Colonel Ann Clouston and Wing Commander Harry Lowe; the President of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) Northern Area, Air Commodore Richard Corney and the President of RAFA Newcastle branch, Wing Commander Harry Lowe; Group Captain Paul Atkinson, Officer Commanding Royal Air Force Boulmer and the Chairman of Northumbria Royal British Legion Mr Don Rutherford. The service was conducted by the Reverend (Squadron Leader) Paul Rennie and readings were given by Group Captain Atkinson and Flt Lt David Scott.
Following the service, the Parade Commander Squadron Leader Al Jackson led two flights of RAF Boulmer personnel and contingents from the Northumbrian Universities Air Squadron (NUAS) and the Air Training Corps (ATC) on to Ceremonial Way where they formed up in review order Veterans and Standard bearers from the RAFA Northern Area and RAFA Newcastle Branch and ten other ex-Service associations also joined the parade. The event was honored with flypasts from a Spitfire and Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
The Sheriff of Newcastle reviewed the RAF Boulmer personnel while Group Captain Atkinson reviewed the NUAS and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland Wing Commander Harry Lowe reviewed the Air Training Corps cadets.
Sydney Graham, the Chairman of Royal Air Forces Association Newcastle Branch and organiser of the event said:
„The RAF’s victory in the Battle of Britain was a defining moment in our nation’s history as it saved our country from invasion. However, it was a victory gained at a price as 446 RAF pilots and over 1000 ground personnel lost their lives during the battle. They sacrificed their lives, and their futures, for our freedom and our country owes them an enduring debt of gratitude. It is a debt which can never adequately be repaid but at least we have a duty to remember them. The Newcastle Branch of the RAF Association is glad to fulfill that debt of gratitude by organising and hosting the city’s annual Commemoration of the Battle of Britain. It is our way of saying „thank you” to the RAF heroes of 1940 for the freedom which we now all enjoy.”
Editor: Anne Russell
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2013