On Sunday, September 13, my wife and I were invited by Douglas Marsh, from the Royal Air Forces Association, to attend a service in commemoration of the Battle of Britain in 1940.
The service was held at St Matthew’s Church in Sutton Bridge. It was an honour to attend such an important date in the history of the Royal Air Force.
From the outset, I knew the service would be a dignified occasion because the event was organised by the same people that had organised a similar service that we attended the previous weekend.
The Battle of Britain service commemorates the great victory by the Royal Air Force which saved Britain from invasion.
In Sir Winston Churchill’s words: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
The order of service began with a thanksgiving before we were invited to sing the National Anthem.
After the church service, there was a moment of reflection at which time we sat quietly and pondered how things could have turned out very differently had it not been for those heroic few.
The Rev David Oxtoby then invited the congregation to join him outside of church.
We proceeded to walk to a private part of the graveyard, which is dedicated to the Royal Air Force and the Commonwealth war graves.
It was very poignant walking through the graves of the airmen from eight countries, many of whom lost their lives while training at Sutton Bridge Airfield.
The service continued with prayers, and wreaths were laid at the marble monolith as a mark of respect to all our fallen heroes.
Then, from nowhere, a Spitfire flew over our heads three times and then tipped its wings to say goodbye and flew off.
You can imagine how this was a talking point for the next few minutes.
After the service, we walked back through the graveyard looking at the 50 or more war graves, noticing that the average age of these extremely brave men was only mid-twenties.
They came from Canada, New Zealand and I even noticed a German pilot who had been laid to rest in the churchyard.
One could not imagine what thoughts would have gone through those young men’s minds when they heard the words “scramble”.
The service stirred our souls and we were humbled and thankful to have been invited to join in the commemoration.
Thank you for inviting Christine and I, and congratulations Sutton Bridge for two extremely well-organised events in two consecutive weekends. You have done the RAF proud.