Battle of Britain remembered at Banbury event

The Battle of Britain was commemorated in Banbury on Sunday September 19 with a church parade and service.

By Matt Elofson
Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 9:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 9:24 am
Banbury Town Mayor Shaida Hussain is joined outside St Mary’s by town clerk Mark Recchia, macebearer Stuart Bennett and Royal Air Force cadets. (photo from Banbury Town Council)
Banbury Town Mayor Shaida Hussain is joined outside St Mary’s by town clerk Mark Recchia, macebearer Stuart Bennett and Royal Air Force cadets. (photo from Banbury Town Council)

An invited congregation attended St Mary’s Church in Horsefair for a service which marked the 81st anniversary of the Battle of Britain and remembered the Royal Air Force pilots and aircrew who took part. A Spitfire flypast was cancelled at short notice.

The battle was fought entirely in the air and was a dramatic turning point in the Second World War. More than 500 RAF pilots and crew lost their lives.

Leader of Banbury Town Council Kieron Mallon said: “For the second year running, Covid 19 prevented the traditional street parades and processions from taking place but we honoured the incredible bravery of those who fought in the battle in the best way we could.

“The Battle of Britain is a part of our history that must never be forgotten.”

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

Banbury played a behind-the-scenes role. In the mid-1930s, Banbury’s aluminium factory (then the NAC – later Alcan and Sapa – but always known locally as The Ally) supplied much of the country’s aircraft industry needs.

In the early years of World War II, Banbury was the largest producer of aircraft metal in the country and produced aluminium for the manufacture of RAF planes including Spitfires and Lancaster bombers.

To deceive German bombers and protect the site from air raids, the real factory was camouflaged and a decoy building was erected north of Banbury.

The fake factory – known as the ‘dummy ally’ – was situated in fields alongside the Southam Road between Great Bourton and Mollington.