Six members of the Few were on hand as Her Majesty The Queen followed in the footsteps of her late mother by unveiling The Wing, the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust’s new visitor and education centre at Capel-le-Ferne.
It was her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother who unveiled the National Memorial to the Few in 1993 – in weather that was about as bad as the driving wind, fog and rain that greeted her daughter on Thursday 26 March when she arrived to declare The Wing open.
Despite the appalling weather, around 100 local people gathered on the Memorial site and were treated to a brief appearance by the Monarch, who was wearing a two-tone blue coat with rather lovely buttons and a matching hat.
She waved to the appreciative audience from the balcony of the £3.5m visitor centre, which features The Scramble Experience, a high-tech audio-visual extravaganza designed to tell the tale of the Battle of Britain and the men who fought it.
Some of those men – named ‘the Few’ by Churchill in one of his most famous wartime speeches – were on hand to meet The Queen as she toured the building. They were Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum, Wing Commander Tom Neil, Wing Commander Paul Farnes, Squadron Leader Tony Pickering, Flying Officer Ken Wilkinson and Flight Lieutenant Owen Burns (pictured above).
The Wing also features The Geoffrey Page Centre, an educational resource which was being used on the day by pupils from Capel-le-Ferne Primary School, who were working hard on worksheets prepared by the Trust. One of their colleagues, Scarlet Stevens, was on hand to present Her Majesty with a posy at the end of her visit.
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