England

Battle of Britain 75th anniversary flypast takes place

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Media captionThe planes include Hurricanes and Spitfires belonging to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Aircraft, including Hurricanes and Spitfires, have flown over Buckingham Palace to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The planes belong to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) which is based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

A specially painted Eurofighter Typhoon also took part in the flypast over London.

The jet was painted in the colours used at the time of the battle, which lasted from July to October 1940.

Image copyright MOD
Image caption Ten aircraft, including Typhoons and Hurricanes, took part

'Phenomenal aeroplanes'

Squadron Leader Duncan Mason, from the BBMF, said: "When you think of the Battle of Britain it was one of those pivotal moments of history, it ranks up there with Trafalgar, Waterloo.

"It's actually not just about the RAF but the resilience of the nation showed in the face of enormous adversity."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The aircraft flew over Buckingham Palace

Speaking about Spitfires and Hurricanes, he added: "They're both phenomenal aeroplanes.

"Of course everyone thinks of the Spitfire when they think of the Battle of Britain - they should also think of the Hurricane.

"It got two thirds of the kills during the battle, it really was the workhorse… Ideally I'd like the same number of Hurricanes as I've got Spitfires but it's just not possible."

Battle of Britain

July to October 1940

1,023

aircraft lost by RAF

1,887

aircraft lost by Luftwaffe

  • 3,000 aircrew served with RAF Fighter Command

  • 20% were from the British Dominions and occupied European or neutral countries

  • 544 RAF Fighter Command pilots were killed

  • 2,500 Luftwaffe aircrew were killed

The Battle of Britain was the German air force's attempt to gain air superiority over the RAF.

Their ultimate failure was one of the turning points of the Second World War and prevented Germany from invading Britain.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Luftwaffe's principal fighter planes were the Messerschmitt Bf109 and the Messerschmitt Bf110

Six surviving pilots from the Battle of Britain joined the Queen at Buckingham Palace to mark the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the World War Two air campaign.

Meanwhile, Prince Philip was heard swearing during a photo shoot at the RAF Club.

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Media captionPrince Philip was heard swearing during a photo shoot at the RAF Club

The prince briefly lost his temper while waiting for a photographer after a long day of commemorations for the Battle of Britain, at an event with other members of the Royal Family.

The battle lasted throughout the summer of 1940. It was the first major battle in history fought entirely in the air and was the first significant strategic defeat for the Nazis during World War Two.

Deborah Burns, widow of Battle of Britain veteran Owen Burns, said she watched Friday's events with "pride, but great sadness".

She told the BBC: "Owen had a great innings, but it is very poignant to listen to and watch the events of today... taking some comfort at this difficult time from the knowledge that he and his brave colleagues will never be forgotten."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In June, Owen Burns was among Battle of Britain veterans invited for tea by The Prince Of Wales And Duchess Of Cornwall

Flt Lt Burns, who was born in Birkenhead on 20 November 1915, was based with 235 Squadron at Bircham Newton, Norfolk.

He died on 30th June, aged 99 years and seven months.

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Media captionPeriod and current Royal Air Force fighter planes took part in the flypast

What are your memories of the Battle of Britain? Were you involved in the campaign? Or do you someone who was involved? We would like to hear stories and memories from the time, if you are happy to share your stories with us please email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

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