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Constant Endeavour - A Special Service at Westminster Abbey

Tuesday, 16th March 2004

Exterior of Westminster Abbey

On Tuesday 16th March a service of thanksgiving and the dedication of a memorial to those who served with Royal Air Force Coastal Command took place in the presence HM The Queen, HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and HRH, Prince Michael of Kent.

The memorial, to 'Constant Endeavour' - Coastal Command's motto, is in the South Cloister. It is a relief carving in light grey Carrara marble and shows the sky and the sea separated by a curved horizon.

'Constant Endeavour' is the motto conferred as a battle honour on Royal Air Force Coastal Command by the Air Council to mark all that its men and women did in the Second World War to secure the seas. Last Year (2003) marked the sixtieth anniversary of the peak of the Battle of The Atlantic when Great Britain at last gained the upper hand over the U-boats operating against British shipping. The part played by Coastal Command airmen, to whom more than half the U-boat sinking were credited, is relatively unknown, as is the finding of the German battleship The Bismark, when she so nearly escaped into the Atlantic Ocean.

During the Second World War, aircrew of Coastal Command won four Victoria Crosses - three of which were awarded posthumously. But the Command's wartime record came at the grievous cost of 10,875 lives.

Since the Second World War, Coastal Command and its successor formations have been engaged almost continuously on operational duties such as the Atlantic Vigil during the Cold War, campaigns in Korea, Malaya, Indonesia, the Falklands, The Gulf and the Balkans.

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