Gallery/video: Battle of Britain pilots honoured in West Suffolk

The parade to commemorate the Battle of Britain

The parade to commemorate the Battle of Britain - Credit: Gregg Brown

Squadrons across West Suffolk yesterday commemorated the Battle of Britain with a fitting parade and service in the town.

The 863 squadron Thurston Air Cadets, along with the 301 Bury St Edmunds Air Cadets, representatives from USAF Lakenheath and RAF Honington all paraded through the town to commemorate the four-month battle from July 1940, in which 500 allied pilots died.

Media Communications Officer for the 863 squadron, Clare Jacobs, said: “I thought it went well.

“About 40 cadets took part. It was very fitting.”

In between the parades the squadrons had a service in St Mary’s Church, before parading back and taking a salute from St Edmundsbury mayor Robert Everitt.

The parade had an extra meaning for the Thurston cadets discovered that their namesake, a Spitfire with the registration number TB863, played an active role in the Second World War and also starred in the film The Battle of Britain.

The Supermarine Mk XVI Spitfire is one of around 50 worldwide still flying and after a chequered history, it is now kept in the air by the historic flying club of Temora Aviation Museum in New South Wales, Australia.

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Mrs Jacobs said: “The service was about the battle and had a theme of David and Goliath.

“The parade was excellent today, they conducted themselves very well.

“The streets were lined up all the way to the church.

“It was appropriate and fitting, a good commemoration.”

Mrs Jacobs added that anyone who would like more information on joining the squadron should call 01359 232943.