RAF Marham servicemen celebrate Battle of Britain Week in Norwich

Hundreds of shoppers came to a standstill in Norwich today (Monday) to watch RAF Marham servicemen celebrate Battle of Britain Week in a special parade.

The ceremony, organised by the Royal Air Force Association, took place this morning in front of City Hall and was the first time RAF Marham personnel had exercised their freedom of the city, since it was awarded in June 2008.

Windy weather prevented a flypast of a Hurricane aircraft, but the crowds and dignitaries enjoyed the music provided by the Band of the Royal Air Force College, from Cranwell, Lincolnshire.

In a speech, Wing Commander Steve Dharamraj, from RAF Marham, said: 'To be granted the freedom of the city of Norwich is a privilege and honour.'

He added: 'I'd like to say thank you for those living and working in Norfolk who continue to give support to our troops at home or away.'

He also praised the EDP's Make it Marham campaign which was launched last year to help save the west Norfolk base. It attracted nearly 37,000 signatures.

Jenny Lay, the Lord Mayor of Norwich, told the crowd she was 'honoured' to open this year's Battle of Britain Week.

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She said: 'Today, as then, many RAF Squadrons are on active duty at this very moment throughout the world. Supported by many of those locally stationed airmen and airwomen parading in front of you; their service recognized by the medals they wear. With this commitment comes the ever present danger of death or injury.'

The Battle of Britain started in July 1940 when the German Luftwaffer started attacking shipping in the English Channel and coastal towns and defences.

On September 15 1940, which is now know as Battle of Britain Day, the RAF successfully fought against the Luftwaffe in the skies above London and the English south coast.

Future events to mark the historical occasion will be happening in Dereham this Sunday (September 18).

The Dereham and Swaffham Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association will be holding its Annual Battle of Britain Parade and Memorial Service.

Members of the association will leave the Cherry Tree Car Park at 10.50am and march through the Market Square towards St Nicolas' Church for a service commencing at 11.15am.

Dereham Mayor and Wing Commander Osborne from RAF Marham will take a salute from the parade as it passes the War Memorial.