Commonwealth Air Forces Runnymede Virtual Memorial Service: Watch And Listen Here

BFBS has created a special virtual commemoration of the RAF's Runnymede service.

Every year the Royal Air Force arranges a service to commemorate the more than 20,000 men and women from Commonwealth air forces who lost their lives during the Second World War and to this day, have no known grave.

The service usually takes place on the second Sunday of May at Runnymede Memorial in Surrey. 

This year COVID-19 means the normal service is not possible so a virtual service, specially produced by BFBS, and played out online, on radio and on television means that respect for the sacrifice of the fallen can still be paid.

Flight Lieutenant Melissa Sharpe carrying the RAF silk ensign during the service - the first woman in history to do so (Picture: MOD).

How to see and hear the service:

Online at 11.00 (UK time) on Sunday 17 May, you can watch at the top of this page, on YouTube and on Facebook.

Listen on BFBS Radio worldwide at 14.30 (UK time) on Sunday 17 May by clicking here; a podcast will also be available afterwards at this link.

On TV Forces News Weekend at 17.30 (UK time) on Sunday 17 May on BFBS Extra overseas or on Forces TV in the UK on Sky 181, Virgin 274, Freesat 165, Freeview 96 and YouView 96.

The service is held at Runnymede because the name of each of the 20,000 airmen and airwomen with no known grave, is engraved on the stone walls of the memorial.

They are listed according to country and squadron.

The Chief of the Air Staff led the virtual service, which was conducted by the RAF's Deputy Chaplain in Chief, Group Captain Giles Legood.

The service also involved RAF personnel including a flag bearer, a trumpeter and senior officers.

A solitary wreath was laid at Runnymede in a virtual memorial service (Picture: MOD).

The virtual service still included a fly past. Where normally the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight from RAF Coningsby would perform, the flypast this year it was the Red Arrows.

Messages of Remembrance from RAF personnel, stations and detachments around the world and representatives of many Commonwealth and other nations also featured heavily in the service.

Runnymede Memorial or the Air Forces Memorial, as it is sometimes known, is positioned on Cooper’s Hill, Surrey overlooking the River Thames and Runnymede Meadow, where the Magna Carta was sealed by King John in 1215.

Cover image: Fly past by the Red Arrows. Taken 8 May as part of the Runnymede virtual memorial service (Picture: Mike Drewett).