A Commemorative ceremony to mark the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Britain was held on Sunday at the Sebastopol cenotaph. The Battle of Britain was a major air campaign fought over southern England in the summer and autumn of 1940.
It was ultimately a test of strength between the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) and the RAF. The Germans began by attacking coastal targets and British shipping operating in the English Channel. They launched their main offensive on 13 August.
Nearly 3,000 men of the RAF took part in the Battle of Britain. While most of the pilots were British, Fighter Command was an international force.
Men came from all over the Commonwealth and occupied Europe – from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Belgium, France, Poland and Czechoslovakia. There were even some pilots from the neutral United States and Ireland. On Sunday the Ballarat branch of the Air Force Association held the annual commemoration. President Keith Lanyon said, “Although this battle was far away and involved only 35 Australians, its outcome was crucial to our history. Had Germany prevailed and achieved air superiority, the German plan to invade Britain would have gone ahead and the British, weakened by Dunkirk, were in no state to fight them. Germany would hold Western Europe. America may well have declined to preserve Australia from a Japanese invasion. Our future really was ‘up in the air’” “We are here to honour their courage and skill.” Sunday’s service included prayers and reflections, laying of wreaths and books and a flyover of the RAAF Roulettes. People interested in the work of the RAAFA are welcome to an information dinner at ‘Barklys’ on Friday September 22, 2017. Contact Keith Lanyon on 0411 512 160 for further information.