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May and royals mark Battle of Britain anniversary with veterans

By Sally Wardle

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall joined war veterans at Westminster Abbey for a moving service to mark the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Prime Minister Theresa May, her husband Philip and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were among more than 2,000 people who gathered yesterday to remember the sacrifice of those involved in the 1940 air campaign.

Survivors of the Battle of Britain, dubbed The Few, were applauded by the congregation as they left and Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum admitted he had to "fight for self-control" during the emotional service.

The 96-year-old, who lives in Cornwall, said: "It gets more emotional for me each year. I'm not normally an emotional chap but escorting the Roll of Honour with that slow march with a slow drum beat... I have to fight for self-control a bit."

The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, who is patron of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, attended a reception at Church House near Westminster Abbey following the service.

Four Battle of Britain veterans joined them as they watched a Hurricane and Spitfire fly-past from the balcony, before exchanging jokes and stories as the group had tea. Mr Wellum said Camilla and Charles, who wore full RAF ceremonial dress, were "very" moved by the service. He said: "Particularly Camilla, so she told me."

Mr Wellum added: "There are four of us here today that are left. It's always lovely to meet them but when you go away and think about it, we can't do what we used to do."

Belfast Telegraph

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