ON Tuesday September 15, a fly-past consisting of 40 Blenheims, Spitfires and Hurricanes brought from all over the world took place to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
The aircraft, the biggest group seen in one place since the war, took off from Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex, then flew to airfields linked to the battle, but were delayed for two hours due to adverse weather.
Prince Harry, celebrating his 31st birthday was due to join the flight but gave up his seat for a veteran when one of the Spitfires was grounded.
The planes flew past Goodwood in formation before dispersing to historical airfields in Northolt in Middlesex, North Weald in Essex, Duxford in Cambridgeshire, Bentwaters in Suffolk, Colerne in Wiltshire and Biggin Hill in Kent.
A service was also held earlier at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, attended by Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour’s new leader Jeremy Corbyn together with the Polish President Andrzej Duda as Polish pilots formed their own squadrons and were heavily involved in the defence of the UK.
Mr Corbyn triggered a storm of criticism by not singing the words of the National Anthem at the ceremony although aides later insisted that he had no intention to insult anyone but had spent the time in dignified contemplation.
September 15 has been named Battle of Britain Day as on the same date in 1940, the Luftwaffe launched its largest and most concentrated attack against London in the hope of drawing out the RAF.
The prime minister described the service – organised by the RAF Association – as “very moving”, and said it was a “particular honour” to see Mr Duda on the battle’s 75th anniversary.
“The battle that really was not just one of most vital moments in the history of Britain, but in the history of Europe and the world, in which Polish pilots played such an absolutely vital role in saving Europe from tyranny, from Nazis and from Hitler,” he said.