His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, accompanied by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, has joined a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey, honouring the sacrifices made during the Battle of Britain 81 years ago.
The annual service in London marks the loss of life as well as the remarkable victory by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War battle in 1940.
The occasion displays the nation’s gratitude for the service of those pilots who became immortalised by Sir Winston Churchill as "The Few".
- Battle Of Britain: The Inside Story Of How The Luftwaffe Was Beaten
- Battle Of Britain: Was It The Most Vital One For The UK In WWII?
- The Hardest Day: A Key 24 Hours In The Battle Of Britain
The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely in the skies.
With his Luftwaffe far greater in numbers, Hitler had wanted to weaken the RAF before a proposed invasion of the UK.
Despite their efforts, the German force couldn’t overcome the British.
RAF pilots were joined by others from a multitude of nations including those from the Empire, such as South Africa and Jamaica, and some that had already been overrun by Germany – such as Czechoslovakia, Poland and France.
The airborne struggle lasted from 10 July to 31 October 1940.
Unable to defeat the RAF, Hitler turned to bombing British cities – his chance of invasion gone forever.
In 1947, the 544 RAF pilots and aircrew who died in the Battle of Britain were commemorated by a stained-glass window in the RAF Chapel inside Westminster Abbey.
At the conclusion of the service today, Their Royal Highnesses witnessed a flypast of historic aeroplanes.