One of the few remaining veterans from the Battle of Britain is due to attend a unique commemorative event next month, just two weeks before his 100th birthday.
Wing Commander Paul Farnes DFM, AE is expected to be a VIP guest at the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust’s annual Memorial Day, which takes place on Sunday 1 July at the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, near Folkestone, Kent.
The event, which also features a flypast and display by aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (weather permitting) will this year mark the 25th anniversary of the unveiling of the National Memorial to the Few, the centrepiece of the clifftop site. The Memorial Day, which will be attended by Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC ADC, Chief of the Air Staff, is a colourful occasion that features a parade of standards carried by a wide range of ex-service organisations.
The free event begins at 10.30am with a display by the Kent Wing ATC Band, followed by a display by the Kent Wing Drill Display Team. Music from the Royal Air Force Central Band will be followed by the arrival of the Sovereign’s Colour of the RAuxAF, carried by No 600 (City of London) Squadron RAuxAF, along with the Polish Air Force replica standard, ahead of a Royal Salute at 1.30pm. After a service of commemoration, relatives and others will lay floral tributes at the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall, which carries the names of the fewer than-3,000 known members of the Few who won such a decisive victory in 1940.
As well as marking the 25th anniversary of the unveiling of the Memorial by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, this year’s Memorial Day will also mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force. Earlier this year the squadron badges around the base of the Memorial were renewed in a double ceremony that also featured the official opening of the Trust’s latest facility – a new library and resource centre in Hunting Lodge, formerly the site’s visitor centre.
Wing Cdr Farnes, a long-term supporter of the work of the Trust, will celebrate his 100th birthday on 16 July.