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Battle of Britain commemorations to go online

Battle of Britain Memorial Trust

By Michael Drummond, PA South East Correspondent

Commemorations for the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain this year will take place online as the UK faces “a similar challenge to the one it faced in 1940”.

The famed Second World War air battle is normally marked with a service on a Sunday in early July but the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted plans.

However, the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust is emulating the wartime spirit and refuses to let Covid-19 prevent remembrance of the courage and sacrifice of those who served.

Group Captain Patrick Tootal OBE, Hon Secretary of the Trust Group, said: “The country is facing a similar challenge to the one it faced in 1940 and we are determined to show the resolve that the men of the RAF showed in the face of adversity.

“We will not be beaten by the virus but will find other ways to commemorate this important year.”

Memorial Day is always held on a Sunday close to the start of the Battle of Britain, which began on 10 July 1940 – this year’s online event is scheduled for July 12.

Group Captain Tootal added: “Clearly the coronavirus crisis means we can’t have Memorial Day in its usual form, but we are committed to pressing ahead with a suitable commemoration of the RAF’s victory in 1940.”

The trust, which is responsible for the National Memorial to the Few on the clifftop at Capel-le-Ferne, just outside Folkestone in Kent, had planned a year-long programme of special events to commemorate the battle’s 80th anniversary, but these have been affected significantly by the pandemic.

“We hope the public will continue to support us in that ambition,” Group Captain Tootal continued. “The Trust is proud of its role as guardians of the National Memorial to the Few, and with no visitor income at present we hope those who value the contribution made to Europe’s freedom by the RAF in 1940 will play their part.

“We will be releasing more details of this year’s online Memorial Day shortly, and in the meantime please consider donating to the trust in memory of the Few so that we can continue to preserve and enhance this tribute to their bravery and sacrifice.”