Westminster Abbey marks Battle of Britain anniversary

Monday, 16th September 2019

Westminster Abbey marks Battle of Britain anniversary

HRH The Prince of Wales was represented by the Marshal of the Air Force the Lord Stirrup GCB AFC at a Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication on Battle of Britain Sunday, held at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 15th September 2019.

The service was led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding:

Once again we come together on Battle of Britain Sunday in this House of Kings and House of Prayer to give thanks for the dedication and heroism of members of the Royal Air Force and the allied air forces in that remarkable struggle for air supremacy over Britain in October 1940. Their courage marked a turning point in the war, for without their bravery it is hard to see how the Second World War could have been won.
As we reflect today on their gallantry and fortitude, we remember all who have served and still serve in the Royal Air Force. We honour all who fight in the service of freedom; we express penitence for the suffering and destruction caused by armed conflicts; and we renew our commitment to work for justice, freedom, and decency.

At the start of the service the Standard of No. 1 Squadron of the RAF was borne through the Abbey church and laid on the High Altar by the Dean.

Sergeant Daniel Harwick RAF read Proverbs 4: 18-23; and Air Chief Marshal Michael Wigston CBE ADC RAF, Chief of the Air Staff, read St John 15: 9-17.

The Address was given by the Venerable (Air Vice-Marshal) John Ellis QHC RAF, Chaplain-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Mark Birch, Minor Canon and Sacrist, and said by: Flying Officer Alexander Barker RAF; Corporal Elizabeth Driver RAF; Squadron Leader Iphie Modu RAF; the Reverend (Wing Commander) David Richardson; and the Venerable David Stanton, Canon in Residence.

The service included an Act of Remembrance during which the Battle of Britain Roll of Honour was borne from the Grave of the Unknown Warrior to the Sacrarium by serving Royal Air Force pilots and aircrew. For the first time, no veteran of the Battle was present at this year's service.

Before he pronounced the Blessing, the Dean led an Act of Rededication ‘to building a world where there is justice and peace for all, and where women, men and children live a life of full human dignity.’

The service was sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey conducted by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Peter Holder, Sub-Organist. The Central Band of the RAF, conducted by Wing Commander Piers Morrell RAF, also played at the service.

Order of Service for A Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication on Battle of Britain Sunday (PDF, 1.32MB)