The sacrifice of The Few was remembered by the many in Bury St Edmunds’ annual Battle of Britain Sunday Parade yesterday.
The town’s civic dignitaries joined RAF veterans, Air Training Corps cadets and service people from nearby RAF and USAF bases to mark the 1940 aerial battle in which the Hurricanes and Spitfires of the Fighter Command gave Hitler his first major defeat of the war.
The parade is held on the first Sunday after Battle of Britain Day, September 15, which was the day the Luftwaffe mounted its biggest and most concentrated attack, leaving the fighter squadrons with nothing in reserve.
This year it was led by the RAF Central Band while members of the Honington-based 2 Squadron RAF Regiment marched with bayonets fixed, as their freedom of the borough allows.
RAF veterans marched behind their organisations’ colours and the USAF sent RAF Lakenheath’s Honor Guard and a marching team from RAF Mildenhall. Eleven Americans flew with RAF squadrons in the battle, in spite of it being against neutrality laws.
After the service of commemoration in St Mary’s Church, the salute was taken on Angel Hill by RAF Honington Station Commander, Group Captain Scott Miller alongside St edmundsbury’s Mayor Robert Everitt.
Cllr Everitt said “We take pride in honouring the bravery shown by those heroic RAF pilots who took to the skies in the summer of 1940, in an important and monumental battle.”
See Friday’s Bury Free Press for a picture spread of the parade.