UK

Heroism Of 'The Few' Compared To Key Workers At Battle Of Britain 80th Anniversary Service

The commemoration was the first major service at Westminster Abbey since Commonwealth Day on 9 March.

The heroism of 'The Few' was compared to modern-day NHS staff and key workers at a service marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The annual commemoration at Westminster Abbey remembers the first major battle fought entirely in the air during the Second World War.

The service was led by the Dean of Westminster Abbey, Dr David Hoyle, and readings were given by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston.

In his address, the Chaplain-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force, the Venerable Air Vice Marshal John Ellis,  honoured NHS staff and key workers in the "fight against an invisible army".

He drew comparisons between the Battle of Britain and the coronavirus pandemic and said: "Once again there have been sacrifices made, often quiet, often humble, unnoticed by many.

"Although starkly different events, each of them has two things that are so important for our humanity – service and value.

"We have seen the selfless giving to a greater cause."

The service is usually attended by 2,200 people, but just 79 guests were there on Sunday.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Marshal of the Air Force Lord Stirrup, representing the Prince of Wales, were also among them.

Social distancing measures were in place for the service (Picture: PA).

Guests wore face coverings and sat far apart from one another.

The Battle of Britain Roll of Honour, bearing the names of 1,497 pilots and aircrew killed or wounded in battle, was borne through the church.

It was followed by a procession of flags, readings, prayers and music from the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment and the cathedral choir.

At the end of the service, there was a flypast overhead by aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

It was the first major service at Westminster Abbey since the Commonwealth Day service on 9 March - two weeks before the UK went into lockdown.