Councillors, active force members and veterans gathered to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at an airfield which played a vital role in defeating the Luftwaffe.

Epping Forest District councillors joined RAF representatives at North Weald Airfield on September 15.

North Weald played a pivotal role in the war effort with fighter planes, mainly Hurricanes, flying from there in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Wreaths were laid at the airfield’s gate guardian – a full sized replica of a Hawker Hurricane with the markings of RAF 56 Squadron, as flown by 249 pilot Tom Neil during the Battle of Britain in September 1940 – before a service at nearby St Andrews Church.

Squadron Leader Phillip Harrild from 56 Squadron RAF attended along with Epping Forest District Council Chairman, Helen Kane, North Weald Parish councillor Alan Buckley and representatives from North Weald Airfield Museum, Aero Legends and the Royal Airforce Association.

Cllr Helen Kane said: “Our airfield at North Weald played a vital role in both the first and second world wars so it is fitting that we should keep those memories and its history alive by remembering occasions such as the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.”

Centenarian Doris Holden was one of the guests at the event. Doris, who still lives in North Weald was a WAAF on North Weald Airfield during the Second World War and has been a member of many local organisations over many years.

The airfield, now owned by the council, is a base for both NPAS (the police airborne service) and Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.

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