Sir Jimmy’s moving tribute to wartime heroes

From: Mark Andrew, member, Battle of Britain Historical Society.

WHEN the Battle of Britain Monument on the London Embankment was dedicated and unveiled by HRH The Prince of Wales in September 2005, I was privileged to meet Sir Jimmy Savile as we were leaving Westminster Abbey where in his usual amazing way he was directing us to the coaches to take us to the monument site.

He made the following statement: “This is one of the finest sculptures in the world today.

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“It will rank alongside any of the world’s greatest monuments.

“I lived through all this. When I look at the monument I can smell the nights of the bombing raids. If it wasn’t for all the lads and lasses at the time, none of us would be here today. This is a stunning permanent picture of what we went through. I feel very humble seeing this.”

During the reception afterwards, I did have a chance to chat about previous times we had met in Yorkshire and to tell him that my older brother had been a Hurricane pilot who lost his life in September 1940 and that from “God’s Own County” 100 men at least had flown in the Battle of Britain.

He agreed to give further support to our School Memorial Project if we were able to invite him to present one in Leeds. Sadly, this has not been possible nor shall we be able to meet him again when our next monument to all those who served in the Battle of Britain can be dedicated at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.