RAF commemorate the Battle of Britain

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Service honour those who gave their lives

LEST WE FORGET: The East London Caledonian Society Pipe Band led the march to the East London East Bank Cemetery’s Commonwealth War Graves for the Battle of Britain Commemoration Service last week Sunday. The service included a medal parade, with the planned flypast of aircraft cancelled because of weather Picture: THANDEKA NTLONTI

THE Royal Air Forces Association commemorated the Battle of Britain in East London recently with a service and a parade.

The service took place at the East London East Bank Cemetery Commonwealth War Graves. The Royal Air Forces Association (RAF/RAFA) is a membership organisation and registered charity that provides welfare support to the RAF Family.

The RAF family includes all serving and ex-serving personnel and their dependents. To be eligible for welfare support, for both themselves and those who depend upon them, service personnel need to have served a minimum of one day in the RAF.

The “Battle of Britain Day” is an annual commemoration on September 15 or the Sunday preceding the date. “Our Royal Air Forces Association branch has always marked the day with the parade. During World War 2 there were two Air Schools in East London where aircrew recruits from the British Isles were trained.

“During this training some of these recruits died or were killed in air accidents and they are buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Plot where our service is held,” branch chairman Alan Harris said.

The association exists in the recognition that RAF personnel and their immediate families dedicate their lives to their country, and to ensure that such a sacrifice does not result in suffering, poverty or loneliness.

The East London and Border Branch celebrates its 60th anniversary this year having been formed in 1947 and continues to ensure that former Royal Air Force members can meet with like-minded persons and where necessary advise on members welfare needs.

“This commemoration reminds us of one of the significant incidents in history where brave, strong-willed people resisted domination.

“It also serves to honour those people who gave their lives in this and other battles,” Harris said.

The service was conducted by Reverend Mickey Webb and the parade was led by the East London Caledonian Pipe Band and buglers Blake van der Kolk and Jordan Blunden serenaded the service courtesy of Selborne College.

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