The number of Battle of Britain survivors may be decreasing each year, but a large number of well-wishers, young and old, turned out for the annual service, march and flypast marking the occasion yesterday.

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A public service at Norwich Cathedral was followed by a march past of RAF Marham personnel playing the Colonel Bogey march. The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Ralph Gayton, took the salute in the cathedral grounds to coincide with a Spitfire flypast.

There was a spontaneous round of applause from onlookers when the Spitfire was seen emerging from the clouds.

The week commemorates the pivotal battle which saw the Luftwaffe try to gain air superiority over Britain in 1940.

Their failure to do so was a turning point in the Second World War, and helped stop the invasion of the UK.

But it also led to the loss of many British lives, who continue to be remembered today.

Mike Smart, chairman of the Norwich branch of the Royal Air Forces’ Association, said it was still relevant to mark the occasion.

He said: “If it had not happened, and if we had not won, we would be a different country today. We would be a non-entity.

“We always have a good turn-out for the occasion, and the cathedral is a wonderful place to hold it.”

The mayor said he always found the cathedral service inspirational, and added: “The event is as relevant today as it was in 1940. Someone once said that those who fail to remember history often end up being condemned to repeat it.”

The event was also attended by Simon Wright, MP for Norwich South, who added: “The service itself is very moving and the conclusion with the ‘Last Post’ is very emotive. And to see the Spitfire flypast was amazing. It was a great spectacle.”

david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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