December 11 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 9, 2013
The iconic Cromer Pier and North Sea provided a stunning backdrop for a Battle of Britain parade and Spitfire flypast today.
Thousands of people surrounded the promenade for the ceremonial event which honoured the men and women who served in the 1940 second world war air campaign against Germany.
The crowd cheered on the nine Royal Air Force Association standard bearers, who formed a guard of honour, the Royal Air Force Regiment band and RAF Marham service personnel.
Norfolk County Council chairman Hilary Cox, who hosted the event, said: “I’m getting more excited by the minute and the atmosphere is wonderful.”
The event, organised by the council, is normally held at County Hall but took place in Cromer at the request of Mrs Cox because of scaffolding work at the council headquarters.
She added: “If it wasn’t for the bravery and commitment of the men and women in the Battle of Britain we would not be where we are today. We need to acknowledge that because some of them gave their lives.
“There are people who still live in this area who remember the Battle of Britain.”
She inspected the service personnel with Wing Commander Neil Tomlin from RAF Marham.
He said: “It is fantastic. Cromer is such a lovely venue and there are so many people here - I cannot get over it.
“The Battle of Britain was one of the turning points of the second world war. The event prevented the planned invasion of the UK mainland. It is indicative of the courage of the people who took part.”
Cromer town crier, Jason Bell, ended the parade which was followed by a service in Cromer Parish Church.
Vanessa De Selincourt, 49, from Shipdham, was in the crowd.
Her father, Bryan Hitchings, who died in the 1980s, was a flying officer in the Battle of Britain for 3 Squadron.
She said: “I got goose bumps when the Spitfire flew past. I loved the simplicity of the parade. At Cromer, if you see the ocean you can feel the isolation the guys had to go through.”
Mr Hitchings, who lived in Kent, earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.
For a full report on other Battle of Britain events across Norfolk read tomorrow’s EDP.