RAF

Memorial Service Marks 80th Anniversary Of Battle Of Heligoland Bight

Fifty-seven RAF aircrew lost their lives in the first named air battle of World War Two.

A memorial service has been held at Runnymede in Surrey, to mark 80 years since the Battle of Heligoland Bight.

Fifty-seven RAF aircrew lost their lives in the first named air battle of World War Two, on 18 December 1939.

Two German airmen also died.

Twenty four RAF Wellington bomber planes were tasked with attacking shipping in the Heligoland Bight, in the north of Germany. Disastrously, 12 aircraft were shot down within an hour.

Descendants of some of those who died attended the service at the Air Forces Memorial on Wednesday.

Also present was a Royal Air Force delegation, as well as representatives from the German Air Force, the Royal British Legion and the Royal Air Forces Association.

Air Commodore Nick Hay, who represented the RAF at the service, said: "The effort made by the many involved and incredible turnout from the relatives has been awe-inspiring, with some travelling thousands of miles to be with us here today."

Cover image: Wreaths are laid at the Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede, Surrey (Picture: RAF).