Tribute to Battle of Britain flyers
The roar of classic fighter planes will fill the sky above the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Sunday in memory of New Zealand World War Two pilots.
A ceremony is being held to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, fought above English skies between July and October 1940.
There were 127 Kiwi pilots involved, the third highest of all countries behind Britain and Poland.
New Zealander Sir Keith Park was a key figure in the battle, taking on the role of air vice-marshal and leading the RAF number 11 group in defence of London and southeast England.
Westmere resident Trevor Clark, who served with the air force in Fiji during the war, says it’s important to remember the battle because of its historical significance.
“It’s the battle that saved Britain. If they hadn’t won it, the Germans had all their barges in Calais ready to invade.”
Mr Clark, 84, says interest in Anzac Day is phenomenal and he hopes a similar curiosity will develop with the Battle of Britain memorial.
“You can’t get a seat in the RSA on Anzac Day.
“The younger ones especially come up and ask questions like ‘what sort of plane is that’.”
Royal New Zealand Air Force Association president Peter Birch says the organisation is hoping to increase the number of people who attend the ceremony with the 70th anniversary on the horizon next year.
He says with very few pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain left, it’s important to acknowledge what they went through.
“The young ones don’t know about it and we want them to.”
While many members of the association are former air force personnel, Mr Birch says others just have a keen interest in planes. The commemoration, which includes a performance by the RNZAF band, starts at 11am at the cenotaph in front of Auckland War Memorial Museum, with the planes flying over at 11.15am.
Members of the public are invited back to the Pt Chevalier RSA after the event for a drink or lunch from 1pm.
For more information on the RNZAF association call Mr Birch on 274-4683.
Lest we forget: Royal New Zealand Air Force Association members Trevor Clark, left, and Peter Birch will be part of the Battle of Britain commemorations at Auckland War Memorial Museum on Sunday.