The small private event in Capel-le-Ferne
Submitted to the Folkestone Herald
The muffled sounds of a Spitfire and a hurricane overhead gave a poignant touch to this year’s Memorial Day event in Capel-le-Ferne, Kent.
Relatives of the group of men Churchill called ‘the few’ paid tribute to those who fought the Battle of Britain when they took part in a small private event atop a cliff outside from Folkestone on July 4th.
The event, hosted by the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, replaced the traditional Memorial Day format which takes place each year on a Sunday close to the start of the Battle of Britain, which began on July 10, 1940.
Coronavirus restrictions meant this event was strictly limited, but it remained a poignant occasion – made even more moving by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, glimpsed through low clouds that blanketed the site.
The guest of honor at the memorial service, led by the Trust’s honorary chaplain, Air Vice Marshal Ven Ray Pentland CB, was Air Vice Marshal Tam Jennings OBE, representing the Chief of Air Force Staff.
The service, which was followed by social distancing afternoon tea in The Wing, marked the 81st anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain.
After the ceremony, relatives laid floral tributes at the foot of the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall, which lists the names of all crews known to have participated in the Battle of Britain.
Tom Walker, grandson of Spitfire pilot turned poet, Flt Lt William Walker, read his grandfather’s poem “Our Wall”.
Honorary Secretary Gp Capt Patrick Tootal OBE DL said:
“Administrators, staff and volunteers worked hard to come up with a small, private format that would allow loved ones to honor the few while respecting the restrictions of Covid-19, and it turned out to be a touching commemorative event. . “
The Memorial Trust is hoping that Memorial Day, which normally attracts several thousand people, can return to its more usual format next July.
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