The 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain is being commemorated by air cadet squadrons across the United Kingdom and overseas this weekend.
Normally cadets would be shining their shoes and ironing their kit to take part in parades within their communities and in London but with COVID-19 restrictions other plans were made.
On social media, thousands of cadets and adult volunteers who help run the 1,200 cadet squadrons and units are joining in the national tribute marking the start of the anniversary of the Battle of Britain’s four-month campaign.
Gp Capt John Lawlor, Chief of Staff at the RAF Air Cadets, which comprises both the Air Training Corps and the Combined Cadet Force (RAF) said: “This is an important anniversary which marks the 80th anniversary of the turning point of World War 2.
“The forebears of today’s cadets helped in the effort to keep the UK safe and their dedication, teamwork and courage was remarkable and we will always remember them.”
Gp Capt Lawlor, a former RAF navigator, said: “Whilst the RAF Air Cadets today is not a recruitment organisation for the Royal Air Force it is true to say that many still do wish to serve their country and for that we can all extremely grateful.”
Air Defence Cadet Corps
Many air cadets in the Air Defence Cadet Corps (ADCC) from 1938-1941 specifically joined the Royal Air Force to help during WW2. The ADCC was the forerunner of the Air Training Corps which was established under Royal Warrant in February 1941. Cadets were trained to fly as well as taught aeronautical engineering, physics, aircraft recognition, shooting, discipline and fitness.
Image of Cadet Isabelle Evans and her grandfather RAF veteran Mr Frank Evans
Cadet Isabelle Evans said: “I think it’s really important to remember those who fought and those who made sacrifices in the Battle of Britain. It’s part of our history and makes me feel really proud.”
Squadron Leader Mark Discombe, Officer Commanding the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) and also a former cadet of 1092 (Bridgend) Squadron said: “Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain is very important.
“The battle was the first fought solely in the air, witnessed by the population the aircrew were defending, and was also the Nazi’s first defeat of World War 2.
“As Battle of Britain ace Air Commodore Peter Brothers said in his speech as Chairman of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association at RAF Northolt on 15th September 2005: ‘The Battle of Trafalgar may have saved the nation but the Battle of Britain saved the world.’ Lest We Forget.”
What was the Battle of Britain?
The Battle of Britain was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force defended the United Kingdom against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe.
It was described as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces.
The British officially recognise the battle's duration as running from July 10 until October 31, 1940, which overlaps the period of large-scale night attacks known as the Blitz, that lasted from September 7, 1940 to May 11, 1941.
Each year, September 15, 1940 is known as Battle of Britain Day.
It is marked annually to remember the large-scale aerial battle that took place on that day during the Battle of Britain campaign.
Source: Wiki 3rd Jul 2020.
Image of BBMF Spitfire P7350 in current Kiwi III paint scheme.