A POIGNANT service of remembrance took place at Brookwood Military Cemetery on Sunday to honour the brave souls who lost their lives in the Battle of Britain 75 years ago.
The moving ceremony was led by Rev Denis Robinson, Chaplain at Gordon’s School in West End, with Woking Mayor Derek McCrum, his wife Rosemary, and Armed Forces members past and present in attendance.
Representatives from Woking Aircrew Association, the National Fleet Air Arm Association, the Royal Naval Association, and the Surrey Wing of RAF Cadets were out in force, as were many veterans, accompanied by fitting music from the Salvation Army Band. Standards were dipped as the National Anthem was played before a one minute’s silence, after which a trumpeter broke the quiet contemplation with Reveille when the flags were raised.
A number of wreaths were laid before cadets took position between the rows of headstones, each then placing a remembrance cross at a grave – poignantly, many of those buried had died for Britain at a similar age to the young cadets.
Squadron Leader John Machin of Surrey Wing RAF Air Cadets led the march past with the standard bearers, followed by Flight Lieutenant Ben White leading the 1349 Woking Squadron RAF Air Cadets contingent.
The historic Battle of Britain air campaign waged by the Luftwaffe was a significant turning point in the Second World War.
In July 1940, German and British air forces clashed in the skies over the UK in a sustained assault. On August 20, as the battle continued to rage overhead, Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said in his address to Parliament: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
In September, after failing to gain superiority over British air crews, the Luftwaffe were forced to quit the battle, despite months of targeting UK air bases, military posts and, ultimately, civilians.
Victory saved Britain from a ground invasion and German occupation.
Picture special in this week’s News & Mail.