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Tribute to the courage and skill of Battle of Britain pilots

The Battle of Britain was a response to a full scale assault from the Germans in an attempt to wipe out our fighting capacity, and launch a full-scale invasion.

Standing in the way of the Nazis were the pilots of Fighter Command. As Derek Johnson reports, they had courage and skill - but also a real sense of camaraderie.


Flypast today to mark Battle of Britain anniversary

Around 40 aircraft will take part in the flypast Credit: MOD

Around 40 Spitfires and Hurricanes will fly across the South today to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Prince Harry will attend the Battle of Britain Flypast at Goodwood Aerodrome.

The prince will join Battle of Britain veterans and wounded servicemen supported by his Endeavour Fund for the flypast to mark the anniversary of victory in the Battle of Britain.

The event brings more Battle of Britain aircraft together in one place than at any time since World War Two.

There will be around 40 aircraft including the iconic Spitfires and Hurricanes.

Battle of Britain spitfire recovered from Channel

The De Havilland propeller blade was recovered in nets by the coast at Folkestone Credit: ITV Meridian

Divers have retrieved part of a Spitfire that crashed in the English Channel 75 years ago during the Battle of Britain.

The De Havilland propeller blade was recovered in nets by the coast at Folkestone and is now at the Kent Battle of Britain Museum in Hawkinge.

The De Havilland propeller blade was recovered in nets by the coast at Folkestone Credit: ITV Meridian

It's thought to be from the plane flown by Sergeant Frederick Eley who was shot down and killed in July 1940.

ITV Meridian spoke to Dave Brocklehurst from the Kent Battle of Britain Museum.

Weather thwarts Spitfires but Veterans shine on Memorial Day

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent was in Folkestone this lunchtime, taking veterans' salutes at the National Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne.

Two spitfires and two hurricanes, that were scheduled to fly over the site as part of the Memorial Day celebrations, had to be cancelled due to bad weather. Andy Dickenson reports. We hear from Tom Neil, Hurricane pilot, 249 Squadron, and Terry Kane, Spitfire pilot, 234 Squadron.


Members of 'The Few' unveil Hawkinge memorial

A memorial has been put up honouring a former airfield in Kent which was used during the Battle of Britain.

Members of 'The Few' helped to unveil the memorial at the Kent Battle of Britain Museum which is on the site of the former Hawkinge airfield, which closed down in 1961.

There was also a flypast by a Spitfire from the Biggin Hill Heritage Hanger.

Kenneth Bannerman, Director General of the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust said: ''Hawkinge is unquestionably one of Britain’s greatest ever airfields.'

'ABCT is very pleased to be able to help honour this most illustrious place with our 39th memorial.''

Flypast to honour 'The Few' who fought in Battle of Britain

The Queen and senior Royal Family members have watched a fly-past from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on the 75th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain.

The spectacle is being held to mark the 75th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain - one of the Second World War's pivotal conflicts which halted German invasion plans.

Family honour: Pilot heroes from two World Wars

Son and father - Willie and William Rhodes-Moorhouse Credit: W.B. Rhodes-Moorhouse VC Charitable Trust

Friday July 10 marks 75 years since the Battle of Britain, the decisive air battle of 1940 which kept this country and Europe free.

For more than three months the RAF fought in the skies above Southern England against Luftwaffe fighters attempting to establish air superiority over Britain and pave the way for a Nazi invasion.

Victory came thanks to 3,000 or so young pilots and air crew who became immortalised as The Few. In all 544 lost their lives, including Flight Lieutenant Willie Rhodes-Moorhouse from Dorset.

The family cemetery in Dorset Credit: ITV Meridian

Willie was killed when his Hurricane crash-landed near Tunbridge Wells in Kent in September 1940, just days after he received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

His death had great poignancy because his father - also William - was also killed as a pilot in combat, and was also honoured for his bravery.

In fact William Rhodes-Moorhouse, who died during the Great War in 1915, was the first aviator to receive the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour for gallantry.

Derek Johnson speaks to relative William Cavendish Credit: ITV Meridian

ITV Meridian reporter Derek Johnson has traced the story of the father and son whose stories reflect the tragedy many families endured in both World Wars.

In this piece he speaks to: William Cavendish, William's great nephew and Douglas Beazer from Beaminster Museum.

We also hear from Lord Ashcroft whose ''passion for bravery'' in his words has lead him to collect Victoria Crosses. He owns William Rhodes-Moorhouse’s VC and it is among his 190-strong collection now on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.

  1. Sarah Saunders @SSaundersITV

VIDEO: The Queen meets Battle of Britain pilots

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been Kent today - to meet some of the last remaining members of The Few - the pilots who defended Britain from invasion in 1940. The Queen opened the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust's new visitor centre at Capel-le-Ferne - following in the footsteps of her mother, who unveiled the memorial at the cliff-top site in 1993. As the events of World War two fade from living memory the centre is designed to teach and remind the younger generations of the sacrifices made. Sarah Saunders reports.

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