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War veterans join Ulster's celebrations as the Battle of Britain is remembered

By Emma Clark

Published 21/09/2015

Military veterans at a Battle of Britain celebration at Newtownards Airfield on Saturday
Military veterans at a Battle of Britain celebration at Newtownards Airfield on Saturday
Former Spitfire pilot Jim Hamilton
Kris Williams tries out the guns
Dylan Brown tries out the guns

The Prince of Wales joined Battle of Britain pilots and air crew in marking the 75th anniversary of the crucial aerial conflict at Westminster Abbey.

Prince Charles laid a wreath in front of a full congregation of 2,200 people at yesterday's annual service to remember the remarkable victory, as well as the loss of life.

Seven veterans who flew Hurricane or Spitfire aircraft during the Second World War event escorted the Battle of Britain roll of honour, containing the names of those who died during the conflict, to the altar of the abbey.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon also attended the service.

Charles later met the veterans during a reception at Church House, before watching a flypast of four Spitfires and two Hurricanes.

The service comes after the biggest gathering of Battle of Britain aircraft since the Second World War to mark the aerial conflict's 75th anniversary last Tuesday, attended by Prince Harry.

The 1940 Battle of Britain was the first major campaign fought entirely in the skies, with the help of servicemen from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia France, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Poland, Rhodesia, South Africa, America and Newfoundland.

More than 544 RAF pilots and aircrew died in the critical phase of the Second World War.

Charles has attended the Battle of Britain service more than 10 times, including the 50th, 60th and 70th anniversaries.

In Newtownards Airfield over the weekend, war veterans were given pride of place of hundreds of members of the public took part in events to commemorate the battle.

Belfast Telegraph

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