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SPIT POLISHED PRESENTATIONS
September 29, 2011
Battle of Britain
AIR Force personnel and assets played a major
role in commemorative activities for the 71st anni-
versary of Battle of Britain that were held around
DCAF AVM Neil Hart attended commemo-
rations in Hobart on September 10 and 11.
The day included a church service at St
David's Cathedral, a memorial service and com-
memorative wreath-laying ceremony at the
Cenotaph and a fly-past by a 79SQN Hawk Lead-
in jet fighter from RAAF Base Pearce.
Speaking at the ceremony, AVM Hart said the
Battle of Britain was a significant battle in itself,
but it was also the first military campaign to be
determined by air power alone.
"Success was realised as a result of many
factors, but none more so than the bravery, deter-
mination and leadership displayed by the aircrew,
together with the unwavering support offered by
the ground elements," AVM Hart said.
Commemorations continued during the week.
On September 16, Hornets from RAAF Base
Williamtown performed a three-ship fly-past of
the service in Newcastle.
On September 18, the Roulettes and a WWII
Harvard from the RAAF Museum performed fly-
pasts of the Shrine of Remembrance and later the
Roulettes performed an aerobatics display at Point
The ceremony in Newcastle, which was hosted
by the RAAF Association Newcastle Branch, was
held at the Cenotaph.
Many Newcastle residents fought during
WWII in the skies over Britain and Europe as
members of the RAF and later the RAAF.
The service remembered PLTOFF John
Crossman, a former student from Newcastle Boys
High School who became a fighter pilot in the
Royal Air Force.
He was killed in combat during a German air
raid over southern England on 30 September 1940.
"The aircrew that gave their lives should be
remembered, and it's important that we continue
to remember those people 71 years later," AVM
"Our modern Air Force has been shaped by the
strength of character drawn from the actions of
those airmen who fought in the skies during the
prolonged Battle of Britain."
BRITISH prime minister Winston Churchill said after the Battle
of Britain: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much
owed by so many to so few."
Although he was primarily referring to the struggle against
the raids of the vastly-superior and experienced German
Luftwaffe by the RAF, the battle involved pilots from several air
While 10SQN was the only RAAF unit in Britain, among
their ranks were more than 22 Australian fighter pilots, 47
who flew with Bomber Command and several more with
Coastal Command. At the end of the battle, of the 1503
allied aircrew who died, at least 14 Australian fighter
pilots, five from Bomber Command and eight from
Coastal Command were killed.
Seven Australians became air aces by shooting down
five or more enemy aircraft. Chief among them was
FLTLT Pat Hughes from Cooma in NSW.
He shot down 14 enemy aircraft, which puts him
among the leading six allied aces of the battle.
The battle started on July 10, 1940 and officially
ended on October 30 as the first major defeat of German
forces during the war.
Despite having its back to the wall, the skill and tenac-
ity of the RAF and the effectiveness of the Hurricane and
Spitfire fighters were critical in turning the tide of the
The climax occurred on September 15, 1940, when
the Luftwaffe launched two huge raids against England
after the German High Command believed the RAF had
been beaten. In response, the RAF literally threw every
fighter it had against the armadas. When the day was
over, more than 60 German aircraft were destroyed to
the RAF's 25.
IN HONOUR: Flags are raised
during the commemoration
for the 71st anniversary of the
Battle of Britain at the cenotaph,
Queen's Domain, Hobart.
Photo: SGT Andy Hall
REFLECTION IN NEWCASTLE: Catafalque Party member FLGOFF Melissa Picton, of RAAF
Base Richmond, Rests on Arms during the ceremony in Sydney.
Photo: LAC Chris Hall
TRIBUTES IN SYDNEY: From left, OC 81WG GPCAPT Joe Iervasi, MAJ
Scott McManus and LCDR David Hughes at the Newcastle service.
Photo: LAC Mark Friend
JOINING TOGETHER IN HOBART: DCAF AVM Neil
Hart talks to WGCDR Charles Hill, president of the RAAF
Association, Tasmania Division (right), and Lieutenant
Governor of Tasmania Justice Ewan Crawford, after the
Hobart commemoration at the cenotaph.Photo: SGT Andy Hall
At least 14 Australian fighter pilots died in the battle
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