Air cadets and veterans from Hartlepool and across the North East paraded against the majestic backdrop of Durham Cathedral to remember the bravery, sacrifice, and ultimate triumph of those who fought in the Battle of Britain.
It is 76 years since the conflict raged in the skies above England as the RAF fought to gain air supremacy against Hitler’s Luftwaffe and bring to an end the Fuhrer’s invasion plans.
Veterans and Air Training Corps cadets formed up on Palace Green before marching into the cathedral for a special service of commemoration.
Spectators turned out in their droves to show their support and remember the 544 British and overseas air crew who died defending Britain between July 10 and October 31, 1940.
Squadron leader Chris Miller, training officer for Durham/Northumberland Wingm said: “Without the positive outcome of the Battle of Britain, the history of World War Two could have been very different.
Some of the RAF pilots who fought were as young as 18.
“The average age of those killed was just 21. It is almost beyond our comprehension today that such young pilots were being sent into battle and that the hopes of the nation were resting on such inexperienced shoulders.
“Every air cadet knows about the Battle of Britain and the commemoration parade is an important day for them.
“It is only right that we remember what these young men did for our country.
“They helped give us our freedom.
“It is wonderful to be able to bring veterans and young air cadets together like this.”