Crowds gather in Norwich to commemorate the Battle of Britain
PUBLISHED: 16:40 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:40 09 September 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Hundreds of people have attended a ceremony in Norwich to remember the men and women who helped defend the country during the Battle of Britain.
On Monday, members of the public along with representatives of Norfolk's councils and the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Vaughan Thomas gathered outside City Hall to witness personnel from RAF Marham commemorate the Battle of Britain.
Exercising their freedom of the city, an ancient honour which allows them to march through Norwich with drums beating and colours flying, personnel from RAF Marham, accompanied by the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment paraded with bayonets fixed.
Often described as a turning point in the Second World War, nearly 3,000 RAF personnel known as 'The Few' took part in Battle of Britain which took place between the summer and autumn of 1940.
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Addressing the crowds, Wing Commander Jim Walls said: "The Battle of Britain was perhaps war in its purest sense, a clearly defined good vs evil with pivotal stakes in play. A nation's, a continent's, possibly a global way of life hanging so delicately in the balance, it would take a small cohort of people to step up and deliver something truly extraordinary."
Commenting on the efforts of not just the pilots who took to the skies, but also the engineers, factory workers and others who contributed to the war effort, wing commander Walls added: "We celebrate a team effort, a complex system of different people doing very different things that collegiality come together when it mattered most.
"As we celebrate the heroic efforts associated with 'The Few' please reflect on it as a beacon which represents the toil and commitment of everyone associated with the RAF."
Among the crowds watching the ceremony was Jacqueline Tuck who, along with her husband had travelled from Hevingham to watch the parade.She said: "My husband was in the RAF for two years during his national service and we have always taken a keen interest in the everything the RAF do. I think it's so important to remember events like the Battle of Britain and I think its positive to see so many people here."
There will be a public service to commemorate the Battle of Britain on Sunday, September 15 at Norwich Cathedral. Everyone attending is asked to be seated by 11.15am for an 11.30am start.