Spirit of Coltishall lives on at Armistice Day service

Thirteen-year-old Maria Hannant, a member of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force, read First World War poem

Thirteen-year-old Maria Hannant, a member of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force, read First World War poem In Flanders Field and laid a wreath made by children at the school during the service. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY

A decade has passed since the former airbase closed but the commitment of those who served there has not been forgotten.

Diane Welsh, the wife of the chairman of the Spirit of Coltishall Association, and Maria Hannant, a

Diane Welsh, the wife of the chairman of the Spirit of Coltishall Association, and Maria Hannant, a member of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force, laid wreaths at the Armistice Day service atBadersfield. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY

And the community which remains turned out to pay their respects.

A special Armistice Day service was held at the former RAF Coltishall memorial garden at Badersfield on Friday.

It was led by Rev Elizabeth Bailey, chaplain to the Spirit of Coltishall Association (SoCA), who were represented in number at the sun-kissed ceremony.

And children from the former RAF school, now The Douglas Bader School, laid poppies they had made as part of a class project on the Battle of Britain.

Trumpeter Peter Moy sounded the Last Post at the Armistice Day service at Badersfield. Picture: ALLY

Trumpeter Peter Moy sounded the Last Post at the Armistice Day service at Badersfield. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY


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Rev Bailey said: 'So many of the Spirit of Coltishall Association served here or in other places in the RAF or the other Armed Forces and for them remembering colleagues that they've lost is so important, as it is for the whole country; but here particularly, and in this place, which was once part of RAF Coltishall, and we have this lovely memorial where people can come and reflect.

'Every year we commit to coming here on the 11th to remember. We were joined today by pupils at the school which used to be the RAF school; we endeavour to keep the spirit of Coltishall alive and that's one of the ways we do it.'

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The memorial commemorates the only Battle of Britain base to have remained a fighter station throughout its 66 year history and the personnel who served there, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice.

SoCA has, as of November 1, taken over the custodianship of the garden which now has a new path.

Thirteen-year-old Maria Hannant, a member of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force, read First World War poem

Thirteen-year-old Maria Hannant, a member of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force, read First World War poem In Flanders Field and laid a wreath made by children at the school during the service. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY

Thirteen-year-old Maria Hannant, a member of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force, read First World War poem In Flanders Field and laid a wreath made by children at the school during the service.

Her great grandfather served as a Corporal in the Army during World War One.

She said: 'Some young people don't understand the relevance but for me I've grown up with it, it has been part of my life.'

The Kohima Epitah was read by Ron Fraser and trumpeter Peter Moy sounded the Last Post, with WO Corby, of the RAF, taking the salute.

Children from the former RAF school, now The Douglas Bader School, laid poppies they had made as par

Children from the former RAF school, now The Douglas Bader School, laid poppies they had made as part of a class project on the Battle of Britain. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: ALLY McGILVRAY

SoCA chairman Dave Welsh, whose wife Diane also laid a wreath at the memorial garden, said: 'The Spirit of Coltishall Association was formed when the station closed and one of the things we try to do is support the community, and organisations within the community, one of which is the Douglas Bader School.

'Today we do this particularly because the kids have been taught over the last three or four months what the Battle of Britain was all about and what remembrance is all about to teach them responsibility.

'They've been making their own poppies and brought them to lay them with us.'

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