Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall attend Battle of Britain service

19:09 16 September 2012

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall attend the Battle of Britain Service of Thanksgiving. Picture: Sang Tan/PA Wire

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall attend the Battle of Britain Service of Thanksgiving. Picture: Sang Tan/PA Wire

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall joined Battle of Britain veterans and their families at a service of thanksgiving today.

The Prince of Wales talks to portrait sitter RAF veteran Wing Commander T F Neil by a portrait of Neil by artist James Lloyd (right). Picture: Sang Tan/PA WireThe Prince of Wales talks to portrait sitter RAF veteran Wing Commander T F Neil by a portrait of Neil by artist James Lloyd (right). Picture: Sang Tan/PA Wire

A Spitfire and a Hurricane flew above London’s Westminster Abbey to commemorate the battle, which was one of the turning points of the Second World War.

Some 544 Royal Air Force pilots were killed in the bitter struggle to save the UK from invasion.

Of the events, Winston Churchill famously declared: “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed - by so many - to so few”.

The annual service marked the nation’s gratitude for the pilots and aircrew of the RAF who prevented Germany from gaining air superiority in the summer and autumn of 1940.

The Battle of Britain Roll of Honour was escorted to the Sacrarium by airmen who had fought in the battle, and prayers were said for those currently serving in Afghanistan, the Middle East and the South Atlantic.

Chaplain in Chief Raymond Pentland told the congregation: “If our Olympians and Paralympians, of who we are rightly so proud, held the hope of our nation, then those men, the Few, held the hope of the world.”

He added: “The Few inspired the world then and surely inspire us now.”

The head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, greeted Prince Charles and Camilla as they arrived at the Abbey.

Speaking after the service, he said: “It’s very important from the point of view of passing on the message to the next generation of what these men did in terms of serving their country, their commitment and their courage.

“Today’s young men and women also want to serve their country. This is to make sure they understand why this is like a flame, a torch, that is handed on from one generation to another just like the Olympic flame was passed on this year.

“That is the same concept of passing the spirit and the ethos onto the next generation.”

Prince Charles, Marshal of the RAF, wore full ceremonial uniform, while the Duchess of Cornwall wore a nude Anna Valentine dress and a co-ordinating hat by Philip Treacy.

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond also attended the service.

After the service Charles and Camilla viewed an exhibition of portraits of surviving Battle of Britain veterans.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Friday, March 6, 2015
The man was seen with a knife on the Central Line before moving onto the Jubilee Line (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The Jubilee line was brought to a standstill today after passengers reported seeing a man carrying a knife.

Friday, March 6, 2015
The trampolie park will open in the summer in east London  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Boing boing! East London’s first ever indoor trampoline park will open this summer in Barking.

Friday, March 6, 2015
Teen victim Alan Cartwright

Two people arrested on suspicion of the murder of teenager Alan Cartwright who was stabbed to death while riding a bike in Islington have been released on bail.

Friday, March 6, 2015
Three men chased the victim in Pymmes Park, Edmonton (Pic: Google)

A 26-year-old man is in hospital after a vicious stabbing in Pymmes Park, Edmonton.

Thursday, March 5, 2015
Masked allecats tear through the streets

Movie makers shooting a murder thriller about the underground sub-culture of London’s alleycat bike racing are in the final throws of crowdfunding to raise the cash before they begin filming later this month.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Yeah, we bet that headline made you panic. But don’t worry, here are 10 great ideas – but get that booking in fast!

Read more

Sadly, having a proficiency in “dank memes” and a recommendation from Chief Keef isn’t good enough for Harvard.

Read more

The boy’s mother doesn’t regret sending her child to school dressed as a character from an erotic novel.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

(Not guaranteed)

Mothers Day is fast approaching, so we’ve rounded up some unusual and beautiful gifts for you to dazzle the most important woman in your life come March 15th.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

The boy’s mother doesn’t regret sending her child to school dressed as a character from an erotic novel.

No more traffic wardens “hiding in doorways”…

The Mayor reckons the horse symbolises the “dynamism of London” – does it?

Quirky London