Remembrance Day 2021: Fairlop Waters ceremony to commemorate Belgian RAF heroes
- Credit: Fairlop Heritage Group
A Remembrance Day ceremony is set to return to Fairlop Waters Country Park.
The service, cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, remembers the 6,500 men and women from the UK and around the world who served RAF Fairlop in the two world wars.
Attendees will assemble at the boathouse at 10.30am on November 11, with the silence to begin at 11am.
The Fairlop Heritage Group are organising the event – their 12th – and will this year welcome pupils from John Bramston Primary School.
This year, the ceremony will focus on those who served from Belgium.
No. 350 Squadron, the first Royal Air Force squadron to be formed by Belgian personnel, was stationed at Fairlop during March 1943, along with their 23 MkV Spitfires.
Among those to be remembered is Lieutenant General Baron Michel Donnet, a pilot in the Belgian Army Air Force.
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Taken prisoner by the German army at the start of the war, Donnet was repatriated in 1941 and began planning his escape to England.
Donnet and another pilot found a biplane locked in a hangar and spent months planning before flying across the channel and landing in Essex.
He was stationed at Fairlop in 1943 and was awarded the distinguished flying cross after completing 100 sorties.
Returning to Belgium after the war, he became commander of Allied air forces in central Europe and later the president of integrated NATO Air Defence System.
He died in July 2013 in Waterloo, Belgium.
The service will also remember Squadron leader Leon Prevot of 64 Squadron, who was shot down on a sortie to St. Omer.
He evaded capture and sheltered with friends in Brussels before making his way back the UK in a journey which took him through the Pyrenees to Bilbao and onto Gibraltar.
They will also commemorate Warrant Officer Adjit Theodulle Elso Nicolas Dyon, who died on October 26, 1942, when a German bomber was shot down by a gun post at Southend and crashed into his squadron’s dispersal hut.
He is buried at Brussels Town Cemetery in the Belgian Airmen’s Field of Honour.