Battle of Britain Sunday 2009
Monday, 21st September 2009
A Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication to mark Battle of Britain Sunday was held at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 20th September 2009.
This annual service marks the remarkable victory, and loss of life, by Royal Air Force pilots and aircrew during the Battle of Britain in 1940 and is an occasion to mark the nation's gratitude for the service and sacrifice of those who took part in this critical phase of World War Two.
In his Bidding the Sub Dean of Westminster, Canon Robert Wright, said:
We remember all who have served and still serve in the Royal Air Force. Until we ourselves are faced with an actual challenge we do not know how we shall stand up to tyranny and oppression but on this Battle of Britain Sunday we honour all who fought in the service of freedom on those dark days.
Flt Lt A. Tennant RAF read 21 Samuel 1: 17-27 and the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton KCB ADC RAF, read Ephesians 6: 10-18.
The sermon was preached by the Reverend (Air Vice-Marshal) Peter Mills QHC, Chaplain-in-chief.
Prayers were led by the Reverend Michael Macey, Minor Canon, and Flt Sgt Ann Carter MBE RAF, of the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service. The prayers remembered those serving with the RAF in the Middle East and those who have died in Afghanistan.
The service included an Act of Remembrance during which the Battle of Britain Roll of Honour was borne from the Chapel of St George to the Sacrarium by Battle of Britain veterans.
The service was sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey conducted by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of Choristers. The organ was played by Robert Quinney, Sub Organist. The Central Band of the RAF also played at the service.
The service was preceded by a wreathlaying to honour the memory of Air Chief Marshal The Lord Dowding of Bentley Priory who was commander-in-chief of RAF Fighter Command from its formation in 1936 to November 1940. The wreathlaying took place in the RAF Chapel at the east end of the Lady Chapel where a magnificent stained glass memorial window designed by Hugh Easton was unveiled by King George VI on 10 July 1947.