This year’s Allied Forces Commemoration Day will once again be the largest event of its type in the North and will this year mark the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. It will take place on Sunday 5th September and admission is at normal rates and times.
The Lord Lieutenant of East Yorkshire, the Hon. Mrs. Susan Cunliffe-Lister will attend the occasion as the representative of HM The Queen.
The Service will reflect the fact that Winston Churchill’s speech, in which he stated that “… never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few” is actually directed at all British and Allied aircrews, not just those of Fighter Command. With the loss of 998 aircrew, RAF Bomber Command and Coastal Command lost more aircrew during the period known as the Battle of Britain than the 554 pilots of Fighter Command, a fact very rarely reflected in articles about this epic battle of the skies. Bomber Command was involved in daring and dangerous daylight attacks on German airfields in efforts to thwart the Luftwaffe threat.
Another significant local connection to the Battle will also be reflected as, on the 15th August 1940, RAF Driffield was attacked during one of the largest offensives by the Luftwaffe, which resulted in the loss of the first WAAF to die in active service, ACW2 Marguerite Hudson, whose name is amongt the Roll of Honour on a Plaque in the Museum’s Women’s Air Services Memorial Garden.
The Parade, expected to be over 450 strong, is made up by members of many regional Royal Air Force Associations, Royal British Legion Branches, Royal Observer Corps Association and other forces associations. A large contingent of serving personnel from 609 West Riding Squadron RAuxAF from RAF Leeming are taking part. This Squadron was first formed at Yeadon (now Leeds / Bradford Airport) in 1936 as a Bomber Squadron, but later, designated instead to Fighter Command, went on to play a significant role in the Battle of Britain, claiming 85 ‘kills’ during the battle. An impressive tally for what was essentially a ‘civilian’ squadron at the time.
The Parade will be led by the Massed Bands of the Northern Region Air Training Corps and many other Cadets from regional Squadrons and unusually, they will be joined by a contingent of 9 riders from the East Riding RBL Riders Group on motorcycles, with Standard. In all, some 26 Standards will be presented. The Parade leads into the Service which commences at 2:45pm until 3:30pm. The Parade will then reform for the March Past and Salute, which will be taken by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton KCB ADC BSC FRAeS CCMI RAF in his capacity as Vice President of the Allied Air Forces Memorial. The Parade will assemble for the Sunset Ceremony and Evening Hymn, with Lowering of Standards and Ensign, culminating with a flypast by a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, bringing the day to a poignant and fitting end.