Airmen who lost their lives whilst serving at Nuneaton’s two local Wartime airfields and their former adversaries were remembered during a special service to mark the Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
The service which took place at the Oaston Road Cemetery, Nuneaton on Battle of Britain Sunday was held to remember those British Commonwealth and Polish airmen who lost their lives while serving at RAF Nuneaton and RAF Bramcote during the Second World War.
Flight Lieutenant Paul Hincks RAF VR(T) who helped to organise the service said, “This was the fifth time that Nuneaton has held a Battle of Britain Day service at the Oaston Road Cemetery where the Commonwealth War Graves and those of the Polish airmen and Germans stand together making it the ideal location for a service, held to remember all the young men who lost their lives during the war, irrespective of nationality”.
The service at the site of the War Graves began with a colourful parade of standards led by the drummers of the 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron Band who also constructed the Drum-Head Altar onto which the standard of the Coventry, branche of the Royal Air Forces Association was laid.
In keeping with the multi-national theme of the event, the service was conducted by 121 Squadron's Chaplain, Rev Simon Betteridge and Rev Fr Lukasz Polkowski of the Polish Community in Coventry, who both expressed the need for both remembrance and reconciliation.
A touching moment in the service came as the Salvation Army Band began to play and the young people from the Cadet Forces and the Polish community who had stood vigil at the graves came forward to lay tributes of poppy crosses and candles. Wreaths were also laid by the deputy Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Mayor of Nuneaton and Bedworth, and Marcus Jones MP followed by representatives of the Polish community, ex-service organisations and the Cadet Forces.
A minute's silence was observed as the bugler, sounded the Last Post and the standards were lowered.
Flight Lieutenant Paul Hincks Officer Commanding 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron said, “I am delighted to say that the service ran very much to plan. We were also really pleased by the large number of people who came to take part in the service and I would take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for their support. I would also extend our sincere thanks to all the Standard bearers who helped to make the service such a colourful occasion and the Salvation Army Band who provide the most wonderful music. I just hope that everyone involved found the whole event a rewarding experience,
He added, “I certainly feel that this service has been somewhat unique in the fact that we have managed to get everyone together to remember all those from each nationality who lost their lives during the War who are buried here and to that end I must say a special thank you to Rev Simon Betteridge and Rev Fr Lukasz Polkowski for their outstanding support for this endeavour”.
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