Last week I proudly stood with RAF veterans and families at the cenotaph in Whitley Bay to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. When the battle began in the early summer of 1940 the lack of trained and equipped soldiers in Britain meant that the RAF was literally the front line. On September 15, the key day of the battle, turning back the Luftwaffe meant also turning back a likely invasion.
The anniversary comes at a time when RAF planes are flying in the skies over parts of the Middle East and when the Government is considering an escalation of the action against ISIS. Government argues that unless concerted action is taken, including military action, to protect civilians there is little hope of stemming the tide of refugees currently making their way to Europe. Rumours of a Parliamentary recall abound but in Westminster the Prime Minister is wary of losing a second vote on the issue. I know very well the political fallout from decisions on military action. Never easy, such decisions are invariably divisive.
Just like 75 years ago our service men and women are invariably young, and courageous. That is why I am proud to stand with them, their families and the organisations who do such invaluable work supporting them, including the Royal Air Force Association, the British Legion and SAFFA; and why I was honoured to lay a wreath of red poppies in memory of ‘the Few’.