22nd September 2018
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Ceremony marks 75th anniversary of Battle of Britain

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A moving and reflective ceremony was held at the Lerwick War Memorial this morning to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Members of the Royal British Legion, Merchant Navy and Royal Air Forces Association were among those gathered at the service, with the RAF flag flying above Lerwick Town Hall.

RAFA branch padre Magnus Williamson led the ceremony and gave a prayer paying tribute to those who had fought in the Battle of Britain, veterans of the battle, and those in the armed forces, in particular the RAF.

Accompanied by Lerwick Brass band verses were sung from the hymn O God our Help in Ages Past and famous words recited from For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon before a lowering of banners and The Last Post.

A two minutes’ silence was observed and wreaths laid at the memorial, including those from SIC convener Malcolm Bell and Lord Lieutenant of Shetland Bobby Hunter.

The Lerwick Brass band then struck up again to play The National Anthem.

The banners are lowered for the two minute's silence. Photo: Dave Donaldson.

The banners are lowered for the two minute’s silence. Photo: Dave Donaldson.

Afterwards David Nicolson, who had served 15 years in the RAF Regiment, said it was nice to pay his respects.

“This is a big week for the RAF,” he said and agreed things could have worked out differently if it was not for those who fought in the Battle of Britain 75 years ago.

Almost 3,000 RAF pilots took to the skies to fight against Nazi invasion and more than 500 RAF fighters were killed in the 1940 campaign.

RAFA branch chairman Tom Bulley, said it was important to mark the event, especially on this, its 75th anniversary.

“If the Germans had got air supremacy the way would’ve been to send troops across in open barges,” he said.

“Obviously they would have invaded England because that would have been the shortest distance.”

Following the ceremony a service was held at St Columba’s Kirk.

RAFA president Magnus Henry was among those walking to the kirk, having laid a wreath the the memorial. He said he was disappointed there had not been more members of the public coming out to the service.

“It was a poor turn-out on a day like this, it’s a nice day,” said Mr Henry.

About Adam Guest

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as a senior news reporter at The Press and Journal, The Barnsley Chronicle and as a freelance reporter for The Doncaster Free Press. Alongside news reporting I specialise in music and sports journalism. Pork pie lover.

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