Thu | Oct 1, 2020

Wreath-laying ceremony held to commemorate Battle of Britain

Published:Tuesday | September 15, 2020 | 2:12 PM
Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, Chief of Defence Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force, lays a wreath at the cenotaph in National Heroes Park on September 15, 2020, in memory of the Jamaican men who fell in the great war at the Battle of Britain in 1940. The occasion was to mark the 80th anniversary –Rudolph Brown photo

The 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain was marked by a wreath-laying ceremony at National Heroes Park and a three-aircraft fly-past over the cenotaph today.  

The event is celebrated on the 15th day of September each year to commemorate the great victory won by the Royal Air Force (RAF), which helped save Britain from invasion in 1940. 

Many Jamaicans who had volunteered for service participated in the battle and in greater numbers in the war. 

In his closing remarks, Royal Air Forces Association Jamaica (580) branch president, Retired Major General Robert Neish, said it is always a great pleasure for him to be present at the event. 

He said Jamaicans made a great contribution, and in turn benefited from the fact that they were in Britain, by becoming qualified professionals in the fields of medicine, law and engineering, among others. 

“We who have served in the Jamaica Defence Force and who have served in the air wing, and those of you who continue to serve in the air wing, have this very proud history of our contribution,” Neish said. 

He added that the RAF veterans continue to transition, with the latest death being this morning in St Ann.  

Sunday, September 15, 1940 became what former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Sir Winston Churchill called one of the most “decisive battles of the war”. 

In Churchill’s words: “The gratitude of every home in our island throughout the Empire and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British Airmen who, undaunted by the odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, turned the tide of the world war by their prowess and their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

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