78th anniversary of the Battle of Britain

Monday, 17th September 2018

78th anniversary of the Battle of Britain

A Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication to mark the 78th anniversary of the Battle of Britain took place at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 16th September 2018.

In his Bidding, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said:

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.

Sergeant Nicolette Munro RAF read Deuteronomy 32: 1-12, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC ADC RAF, Chief of the Air Staff, read St Mark 10: 35-45.

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

The Prayers were led by the Reverend Christopher Stoltz, Minor Canon and Precentor of Westminster, and said by Flight Lieutenant Paul Kiczma RAF; Flight Lieutenant Adele Brown RAF; Flight Lieutenant David Miles RAF; The Reverend (Wing Commander) Ian Brown; 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 Battle of Britain veteran Wing Commander Paul Farnes DFM and serving Royal Air Force pilots and aircrew. At the start of the service the Standard of Number 92 Squadron was borne through the Abbey church and laid by the Dean upon the High Altar.

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 to mark the 78th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (PDF, 2MB)