Trustee Deborah Burns, wife of the late Flt Lt Owen Burns, one of the Few, laid a wreath on Saturday during an annual service of commemoration held by the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee.
Deborah was representing the Battle of Britain Fighter Association (BBFA), which was recently incorporated into the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust. The Association is the organisation that only Battle of Britain clasp holders – members of Churchill’s Few – were entitled to join.
Flt Lt Burns, who was just a few months short of his 100th birthday when he died at the end of June 2015, flew with No 235 Squadron throughout the Battle of Britain. His squadron, based at Bircham Newton in Norfolk, was equipped with Mark IV Bristol Blenheims, which had four guns under the nose and two in the mid-upper turret, which Flt Lt Burns operated. It is because the Few includes gunners and others that the Trust is careful to refer to ‘aircrew’ rather than ‘pilots’.
Saturday’s commemorative service and wreath laying at the Polish Air Force Memorial, which is close to RAF Northolt, marked the 70th anniversary of its unveilieing and was attended by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent and by BBFA Patron and Trust President Sir Stephen Dalton. Deborah described her attendance at the event as “a great honour”.