THE PRINCE of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have joined Battle of Britain veterans at a service of thanksgiving.
They also stood next to the veterans and watched a Spitfire and Hurricane fly over London’s Westminster Abbey to mark the battle, the first major campaign of the Second World War to be fought entirely in the skies.
The battle, which spanned from July to October 1940, was one of the turning points of the war but left 544 RAF pilots and aircrew dead as they fought to save Britain from a German invasion.
The annual service marks the victory and loss of life of the brave multinational force which included Britons as well as citizens from as far afield as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Ireland, Jamaica, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Poland, Rhodesia, South Africa and the US.
Having thwarted Germany’s invasion plan by stopping the Luftwaffe from controlling the skies over southern England, Winston Churchill memorably declared: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
Ever since, those who fought in the battle are proudly known as “The Few”. RAF chaplain-in-chief Jonathan Chaffey told the congregation that the battle was a daily routine of “adrenaline and fear,” of “camaraderie and loss” while also highlighting the strength of the human spirit.
With this in mind, he praised the recent Invictus Games, championed by Prince Harry. It was a sporting event for over 400 wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women.