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Town remembers cost of war with Battle of Britain parade

PUBLISHED: 14:53 20 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:53 20 September 2017

The annual Battle of Britain parade took place in Beccles on Sunday, September 17. Photo: Brian Vousden

The annual Battle of Britain parade took place in Beccles on Sunday, September 17. Photo: Brian Vousden

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A special service and parade was held last weekend to pay tribute to those who fought in the pivotal Second World War battles over Britain’s skies.

The church service was attended by a variety of official figures including Beccles mayor Richard Stubbings. Photo: Brian Vousden. The church service was attended by a variety of official figures including Beccles mayor Richard Stubbings. Photo: Brian Vousden.

The Beccles branch of the RAF Association (RAFA) held its annual church service and parade for the Battle of Britain, on Sunday, September 17.

Beginning with a service of remembrance held at St Benet’s Church, the City of Norwich Pipe Band then led a parade through Beccles and onto a reception in Ravensmere.

Veterans and cadets came together to honour the fallen, along with a number of senior officers and civic dignitaries.

The salute was taken in Exchange Square by air vice-marshal W.T Rimmer OBE, who also gave the address at the church service.

Brian Vousden, president of the Beccles and Southwold RAFA branch, said: “We commemorate the Battle of Britain every year in September to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom in 1940.

“A total of 2,937 British, commonwealth and allied pilots took part in the battle which lasted from July 1940 until October 1940.

“510 pilots lost their lives and hundreds more suffered serious injury.”

He added: “Many other personal of other services also suffered death and injury on the ground – as did many civilians.

“Our parade is a mark of respect and humility to these brave people.”

The Battle of Britain is often regarded as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces.

Britain was defended by the RAF against large scale attacks by the German Air Force - the Luftwaffe.

Richard Stubbings, mayor of Beccles, was also in attendance at the ceremony.

Speaking of the service he said: “It was all very moving. It’s important to remember all those people who died for us.

“The service focused on the hidden costs that are involved in war – the human cost.

“It spoke not only of those who died but also those who became prisoners of war.”

He added: “The Royal Air Force flag has been flying outside the Town Hall for the past week.

“The service and parade brings it all back to us, it draws attention and acts as a reminder of those who lost their lives.”

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