Banbury ready for Battle of Britain salute

Spitfire P7350 (front) flies alongside Hurricane LF363 (back).
Spitfire P7350 (front) flies alongside Hurricane LF363 (back).

One of the most important campaigns of the Second World War will be remembered in Banbury on Sunday, September 17, when the town pays tribute to the country’s Battle of Britain heroes.

The battle was fought in the skies above southern England in the summer and autumn of 1940 and the RAF’s defeat of the Luftwaffe was a major factor in preventing Hitler from invading England.

Battle of Britain Day in Banbury will again be organised by Banbury Town Council and will begin at 11am.

A military and civic parade will line up in Broad Street before marching up High Street, round the Cross into Horsefair and then into St Mary’s Church for a memorial service.

After the service the parade will march back down High Street for the salute.

Leader of the town council Kieron Mallon said: “This event is a heartfelt tribute to the true heroes who defended this country 77 years ago.

“They must never be forgotten,” he added.

Banbury played a crucial role in the Second World War effort.

The town’s former aluminium factory was important in producing metal for the manufacture of aircraft for the RAF, including Spitfires and Lancaster bombers.

To protect the plant from air raids, the real factory was camouflaged and a fake factory was built three miles north of Banbury to mislead German bombers.

The fake factory was known as the ‘dummy ally’.

The town was also at the centre of a number of wartime airfields.

These included RAF Heyford, Barford St John, Shenington, Hinton-in-the-Hedges, Enstone, Greatworth, Finmere, Turweston, Silverstone, Chipping Warden, Croughton, Chipping Norton and Gaydon.