Battle of Britain remembered

Veterans at the Thanksgiving service
Veterans at the Thanksgiving service

MORE than 100 veterans, their families and visitors paid their respects to those who lost their lives during the Second World War.

The annual Thanksgiving service, at Christ Church, Blacklands, was held on Sunday, September 16 and commemorated pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The service was conducted by Rev Canon John Fletcher and organised by the Hastings and St Leonards branch of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA). It also reflected on surviving Second World War veterans and those lost in more recent conflicts, such as Afghanistan.

Cllr Maureen Charlesworth, who is also president of Hastings and Rother’s of Soldiers Sailors and Airmen Families Association (SSAFA), attended Sunday’s event and gave a reading from Joshua 1, verses 1 and 2, and 6 to 9 from the Bible.

She said: “We had more than 100 veterans and their families come and it was a lovely service, making us all stop and think a bit about those who died in the Battle of Britain and saved this country, as well as those who continue to give their lives in such places like Afghanistan.

“It was also to give thanks to those who fought in the Second World War. The service brought tears to my eyes.”

Attendees on Sunday sang the hymn, For the healing of the nations, while the Standards, Union Flag and Branch Standard were received. There was also a dedication and blessing of the new Branch Standard.

Tony Selmes, the branch chairman of RAFA, read from the Bible’s John 1, verses 1 to 14. The service ended with The Last Post and Reveille before the National Anthem was sung.

The Battle of Britain lasted from July to October 1940 and was an attempt by Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe to gain superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF). Germany failed to achieve its objectives and the Battle of Britain is seen as the Nazis’ first major defeat, as it ended the threat of an invasion of Britain by Germany.