It was an historic day to remember on Sunday as personnel from RAF Leeming paraded through Ripon to mark the Battle of Britain anniversary.
Residents of Ripon, young and old, were out in force to commemorate the significant 75th anniversary of the fighting which raged in the skies over England between July and October 1940.
Not only did the day mark 75 years since the great sacrifices made by ‘the few; but it was also RAF Leeming’s first parade in Ripon since being granted the Freedom of the City.
RAF Leeming Station Commander Group Captain David Bradshaw said the occasion marked the high point of a ‘special year’ where the heroic deeds of our forebears were remembered.
Following the parade, members of RAF Leeming as well as members of the public gathered in Ripon Cathedral for a special Battle of Britain sermon delivered by the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson.
He said: “It was wonderful to have the RAF with us on the day and they came in large numbers to the cathedral after the parade as well as good deal of members of the public.
“This sermon happens year on year to remember the victory that was won by, what Churchill described as ‘ the few’, and I emphasised with that in my sermon.
“A few can make a difference to a seemingly impossible situation so we should be encouraged by that with the huge problems facing the world at the moment.
“People want to remember the courage, effort and contribution of the forces in 1940 and it was an honour to give my sermon, but that’s what the cathedral is here for.”
The city also stood to their pay their respects a flypast took to the skies over Ripon, commemorating the RAF deploying 640 planes in July 1940 to combat the Luftwaffe’s 2,600 fighters and bombers.
The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Pauline McHardy spoke of her pride at honouring the battle on September 15 1940 in which the RAF lost 1,023 to the Luftwaffe’s 1887.
She said: “The whole day was an amazing experience. The members of the public said what a brilliant parade it was, as well as the band that played.
“Ripon does have a strong affection for their armed forced and we hold it very dear to our hearts.
“These parades are extremely important for the troops, including the ones abroad. It’s very comforting for them to know the public are right behind them and it’s vital we show our strength.
“It was extremely touching for me to be Mayor for this day and confer the RAF Leeming with the Freedom of the City.”