To mark the 82nd anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Royal Australian Air Force and Air Force Association (South Australia) held a commemoration ceremony at the Torrens Parade Hall in Adelaide on 17 September.
CAPTION: Catafalque party members from No. 1 Remote Sensor Unit march from their post at the conclusion of the Battle of Britain commemoration ceremony at Torrens Parade Hall, Adelaide. Story by Flight Lieutenant Claire Burnet. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Sam Price.
The Battle of Britain was a military campaign that took place during World War 2 between July 10 and October 13, 1940. It is regarded as the first military campaign fought entirely by air forces and was the largest, most sustained, aerial bombing campaign to that date.
Commander Air Warfare Centre Air Commodore Ross Bender was the senior Royal Australian Air Force representative at the ceremony, accompanied by President of the Air Force Association (South Australia) Group Captain (retd) Robert Black.
No. 41 Wing’s No. 1 Remote Sensor Unit (1RSU) provided a catafalque party and the Australian Air Force Cadets contributed ceremonial support.
The ceremony was attended by members of the public and dignitaries including Governor of South Australia Frances Adamson, South Australian Minister for Veterans Affairs Geoff Brock and Bomber Command veteran Don Looker.
In his speech, Commanding Officer 1RSU Wing Commander Peter Crookes said the commemoration was a time to come together and remember the effort and sacrifice of those known as ‘the few’ who included eight South Australian aircrew.
“Those airmen and support personnel were so crucial in the defence of Britain that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously declared ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’,” Wing Commander Crookes said.
“This year’s ceremony is particularly poignant, being held in the wake of the recent passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who served her nation as a driver during WWII.”
Dr Black said he appreciated the Royal Australian Air Force’s ongoing support of the annual commemoration.
“It was wonderful having Air Commodore Bender and the members of 1RSU supporting and participating in this year’s ceremony and connecting with our veterans,” Dr Black said.
No. 6 Wing Australian Air Force Cadets public affairs officer, Wing Commander Fernando Gonzales, said the cadets aged 13 to 18 years embraced the Battle of Britain commemoration.
“These events are cherished highlights of the cadet activity calendar, affording invaluable opportunities for our youth to learn from our history and to honour the service and sacrifice of our distinguished veterans,” Wing Commander Gonzales said.
Leading Aircraftman Timothy Wells from the catafalque party said the commemoration meant a lot to 1RSU.
“This commemoration was an honour and privilege to be part of,” he said.
While the Battle of Britain is typically remembered for fighter/bomber aircraft and aircrew, the success of Britain’s Royal Air Force was also due to ground support, maintenance, radar and command and control units and personnel.
“Radar proved particularly crucial,” Wing Commander Crookes said.
“Today our RAAF uses a layered air defence surveillance system that operates similarly to that employed during WWII, and 1RSU is at the forefront of cutting edge surveillance technology and innovation.”
CAPTION: Australian Air Force Cadets stand with the Governor of South Australia Frances Adamson to commemorate the Battle of Britain at the Torrens Parade Hall in Adelaide, South Australia.
CONTACT believes RAAF is deliberately dropping ‘Royal Australian’ from its name – yet Defence told us it isn’t true.
So we’re waging our own campaign to prevent this happening by stealth. To that end, we have ‘repaired’ all references appropriately in this official story.
See here for more details