Cyprus

RAF Akrotiri Commemorates Battle Of Britain

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony was able to go ahead but had to take place outside.

Armed Forces personnel in Cyprus have held a service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Cyprus has fewer COVID-19 cases and restrictions than the UK, meaning the ceremony could go ahead, although it had to be held outdoors and was a little bit different to what was originally planned. 

Group Captain Nikki Thomas, Station Commander at RAF Akrotiri, told Forces News they were "always going to do something".

"We were going to adjust the scale accordingly, with either COVID or the heat, and all those other areas," she said.

"But we definitely knew we had to do something and I’m pleased we managed to make it work.

"It's a very poignant year and a year where we thought it's very important to celebrate but also commemorate and try to make a very poignant service so we could think about those generations that fought during the Battle of Britain."

Some events in the UK to mark the anniversary have been cancelled due to COVID-19, including the Duxford Battle of Britain Proms and the 80th Anniversary Battle of Britain Air Show 2020 which were cancelled last week.

For the personnel in Cyprus, they were glad to be given the chance to pay their respects to those who fought during the three-and-a-half-month battle in 1940. 

The service was moved outside and was allowed to go ahead as Cyprus has fewer coronavirus cases and restrictions than the UK.

Flying Officer Lydia Houston said: "I think it's incredibly important for service personnel to remember. We've had a massive turnout today, even with the heat, and it's been phenomeal.

"It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to show our respects."

Flying Officer Callum Mounfield added it is "important for every generation" to remember those who fought in the Battle of Britain.

"Moving forward, we’ve got to make sure that the memory is kept alive, remember the sacrifices that were made and educate and never forget," he added.