PICTURES: Hundreds line streets as Banbury honours Battle of Britain heroes

The Banbury Air Cadets band. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132640001
The Banbury Air Cadets band. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132640001

Hundreds of people lined the streets as Banbury honoured the country’s Battle of Britain heroes yesterday (Sunday, September 17).

A military and civic parade marched from Broad Street, up High Street, around The Cross into Horsefair and then to St Mary’s Church for a memorial service.

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132628001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132628001

Afterwards the parade marched back down High Street for the salute opposite the bandstand with hundreds watching the procession to pay their respects.

Banbury is one of the few towns to organise an annual tribute to those who died in the battle, which is run by the town council.

Council leader Kieron Mallon said: “We must never forget the airmen of the Royal Air Force who fought the Battle of Britain.

“Winston Churchill said at the time – ‘never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’ – and in Banbury we will continue to honour their memory.”

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132727001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132727001

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.

Banbury played a crucial role in the battle as the town’s former aluminium factory, known as ‘the ally,’ was the only place in England that produced metal for the manufacture of RAF aircraft, including Spitfires and Lancaster bombers.

To protect the plant from air raids, the factory was camouflaged to look like open fields and a fake one was built three miles north of Banbury to mislead German bombers, which was known as the ‘dummy ally.’

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132738001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132738001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132749001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132749001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132617001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132617001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132538001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132538001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132506001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132506001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132517001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132517001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132527001

Battle of Britain parade in Banbury. Photo: Banbury Town Council NNL-170918-132527001