Battle of Britiain Tributes

Lieutenancy To Lead Battle Of Britain 70th Anniversary Tributes At Kentish Airfields

To mark the 70th anniversary year of the Battle of Britain, the Lieutenancy of Kent will be leading tributes at the Kentish airfields that bore the brunt of Luftwaffe attacks.

The brief symbolic ceremonies will be held at Eastchurch, Detling, Rochester, Gravesend and West Malling on Monday, 19 July, and Manston, Lympne and Hawkinge on Tuesday 20 July, ending at the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne.

At each location civic leaders will join the Lieutenancy party, led by the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Viscount De L’Isle MBE DL, and wreaths will be laid in memory of the fallen – military and civilian. Members of the public, and especially veterans’ organisations, are welcome to attend.

The airfield tour was inspired by the Lord Lieutenant, Allan Willett CMG, The Queen’s representative in the County, who as a small boy on his father’s Thanet farm witnessed the aerial dogfights over Manston. Sadly he is unable to attend himself as he is currently recuperating from surgery.

With the Lieutenancy party throughout the airfield tour will be one of the last of The Few, Wing Commander Bob Foster DFC, and a serving Royal Air Force helicopter pilot, Flight Lieutenant Marc Heal who recently won the Distinguished Flying Cross rescuing casualties under fire in Afghanistan.

At each location Group Captain Patrick Tootal OBE DL, Secretary of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, will give a short description of the airfield’s part in the battle. The Vice Lord Lieutenant will speak about the battle’s significance and there will be prayers for the fallen – and for those still on operational service today – by Royal Auxiliary Air Force Chaplain, the Rev Matthew Buchan, or the appropriate civic leader’s chaplain.

Timings: [Note: The Lieutenancy party will be travelling by car and owing to the vagaries of traffic all timings are inevitably estimated. However, none of the ceremonies will begin earlier than the times stated below.]

19 July 
10.30 Ceremony at aviation memorial, Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey
11.00 Depart Eastchurch for Detling (County Showground)
11.30 Ceremony at Detling airfield memorial 
12.00 Depart Detling for Rochester Airport
12.15 Ceremony at new airfield memorial 
12.45 Depart Rochester for Gravesend
13.15 Ceremony at airfield memorial outside Cascades Leisure Centre 
13.45 Depart Gravesend for Kings Hill 
15.15 Ceremony at RAF West Malling memorial

20 July

10.30 Ceremony at memorial adjacent to Spitfire and Hurricane Museum, Manston 
11.00 Depart Manston for Lympne 
12.00 Ceremony at Lympne 
12.30 Depart Lympne for Hawkinge
13.00 Ceremony at Hawkinge Battle of Britain Museum 
13.30 Depart for Capel-le-Ferne
13.45 Ceremony at Battle of Britain Memorial

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