Deadly air campaign remembered 70 years on

MEN, women and children stood side by side to remember those killed during one of the most crucial parts of the battle against Nazism.

To mark 70 years since the Battle of Britain, parishioners at Holy Trinity Church, Mossford Green, Barkingside, were joined on Sunday by cadets from the Royal Navy, RAF and Royal Marines.

The Chelsea Pensioners also marched into the church hall under the watchful eye of guests including the Bishop of Barking, Rt Rev David Hawkins, as a wreath was laid to honour the victims of the air battle that lasted from July to October 1940.

Redbridge Mayor Cllr Jim O’Shea was among the guests.

David Westgate, who helped organise the memorial service, was six years old when bombs began falling from the sky near his Clapham home.

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He said: “It was quite a target for the bombers because of the railway. I had land mines falling around me.

“You battened down the hatches and, when the sirens went, you dived for the shelters. It was the only thing you could do.”

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Mr Westgate, of Caterham Avenue, Clayhall, added: “Of course, most people didn’t live through it so it’s important to remember what happened.

“Everybody enjoyed the whole service.”

The Battle of Britain, which took place over south-east England, is seen as one of the most decisive episodes of World War Two.

About 1,700 Luftwaffe bombers and fighters were shot down in a few months while Britain lost more than 900 fighter planes.

Nearly 500 allied pilots and air crew were killed.

It was 70 years ago on September 6 that the Blitz – the sustained bombing of Britain by Germany – began, killing more than 43,000 civilians.

Half of those fatalities were from London, with more than a million houses damaged or destroyed in the capital alone.

At the end of Sunday’s service, �300 was collected for the Chelsea Pensioners Appeal for The Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

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