King’s Lynn RAF veterans gather to mark Battle of Britain’s 77th anniversary
- Credit: Ian Burt
'People gave their lives for our freedom. They deserve that we remember what they did for us.'
Those were the words Royal Air Force (RAF) veteran Michael Forster as he and his ex-servicemen colleagues honoured those who gave their lives during the Battle of Britain. On the day of the 77th anniversary of the legendary Second World War fight in which the RAF defended the British skies from the German Luftwaffe, a group of veterans gathered in their uniforms for a service of thanksgiving and remembrance at Tower Gardens, King's Lynn.
They were welcomed by Padre Chrissie Lacey and Paul Mellor, from RAF Marham, with Mr Mellor saying: 'On that day, Fighter Command lost 30 aircraft, nine pilots were wounded and 11 lost their lives attempting to protect this country.
'They were all young heroes, never to be forgotten.'
A planned Spitfire flypast had to be cancelled due to wet weather but Flt Lt Lacey said: 'I thought it was good to see people coming out to commemorate this - even in the weather they're willing to come out, because the people who died were worth it.
'I think it's a special day. We should recognise it and we should celebrate it because it was a great victory - but also commemorate that people died during this fight.
'It's good to give them the honour and respect they deserve. I think it's important to keep the memories going of what's happened - the guys who died were really young when this happened. That puts it in perspective for the young people today.'
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Dave Kelsey, 69, from King's Lynn, who was a bandsman and served in places such as Hong Kong and Northern Ireland, said: 'It is important to let youngsters know that their freedom wasn't free.
'Their grandparents and great-grandparents did an awful lot.'
Roger Green, 71, a former RAF aircraft engineer who attended the event from Lincolnshire, said one of the most heartwarming things was 'the fact people who weren't necessarily involved are coming out for their forebears'.
The event at 11.30am on Monday, September 11 was organised by the King's Lynn and District Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association.
Those present also laid wreaths at King's Lynn's war memorial to remember those who died.