The sun shone, bands played, a Spitfire soared above the crowds and one of the Few took centre stage at the Trust’s annual Memorial Day commemorations.
This year’s event, which marked the 25th anniversary of the unveiling of the Memorial by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, as well as the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Air Force, was attended by several thousand people.
The Trust was honoured by the presence of its Patron, HRH Prince Michael of Kent KCVO, but it was Wing Commander Paul Farnes DFM, AE, one of the Few, who stole the show.
Wing Cdr Farnes, a long-term supporter of the work of the Trust who will celebrate his 100th birthday on 16 July, flew Hurricanes with No 501 Squadron during the Battle of Britain, achieving a score of six destroyed, one probably destroyed and six damaged. He was awarded the DFM on 22 October 1940.
Memorial Day, attended by Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC ADC, Chief of the Air Staff, featured a parade of standards, carried by a wide range of ex-service organisations, and music by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.
One of the highlights of the day, as always, was a thrilling display by a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, while a display by the Kent Wing ATC Band a demonstraion by the Kent Wing Drill Display Team were also much enjoyed by the crowds.
This year’s commemorations featured the Sovereign’s Colour of the RAuxAF, carried by No 600 (City of London) Squadron RAuxAF, along with the Polish Air Force replica standard. After the parade and service, relatives and others laid floral tributes at the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall, which carries the names of the fewer than-3,000 known members of the Few who won such a decisive victory in 1940.
Next year’s Memorial Day will be on Sunday 7 July.