Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla Attends Battle of Britain Memorial

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla were some of the special guest in attendance of this year’s Battle of Britain Fighter Association service of thanksgiving and rededication that took place at Westminster Abbey.

Other people that attended the ceremony were the families of the military men who lost their lives in battle, representatives of the British military services – as well as “The Few”surviving veterans from the war. “The Few” is a term normally used to symbolize the pilots that participated in the air battle.

The term, “The Few” came from the legendary speech Winston Churchill made when he said it was the first time so many people owed so much to so “few” people in terms of human battle.

The Battle of Britain Memorial is organised every year to honour the pilots who lost their lives in battle that saved Britain from a German invasion during the Second World War.

It was the biggest battle to be fought wholly in the air and was between the British RAF and Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe. The battle took place between July and October 1940 and about 544 British RAF pilots and aircrew were killed.

As part of the event, a Spitfire and Hurricane bomber aircrafts were flown over London’s Westminster Abbey.The two Lancasters flew three times over Derwent Dam in Derbyshire as part of paying homage to the Dambusters troops as well as others that were killed in the Second World War.

According to RAF chaplain-in-chief,Jonathan Chaffey, the battle was a day-to-dayrepetitive struggle with “adrenaline and fear,” as well as “camaraderie and loss” among the pilots.

Speaking about how The Battle of Britain merits having a special place in the minds of citizens, Chaffey said apart from the “The Few” that sacrificed their lives in the process, there was a great determination from the force that worked for a great cause, The Telegraph reports.

Mr Wilkinson, of Solihull who stood close to the prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall said even though his eyesight was not so good – he could hear the royal couple speaking about the war and that it brought back a lot of memories.

Speaking about the Battle of Britain, Retired Sqn Ldr Stuart Reid said it was a fight the British, including its Common Wealth allies and its foreign counterpart joined forces together to defeat Nazi Germany during the World War Two. Reid was one of the pilots that flew the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Lancaster.

Pilots from countries such as Belgium, Australia, France, Canada, South Africa, the United States, and many more joined Britain in winning the war against Germany during the Battle of Britain.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE