Battle of Britain heroes honoured in Cheltenham parade
WAR veterans and young cadets stood side by side in Cheltenham to remember the bravery of the pilots in the Battle of Britain.
More than 100 shoppers in the Promenade paused to watch a parade steeped in military history make its way through the town centre.
The rousing sound of the band from a squadron of The Air Training Corps rang out as the parade marched to the war memorial.
A short service followed and wreaths were laid as part of the ceremony to commemorate the Battle of Britain, which raged over the skies of the land in the summer and autumn of 1940.
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Last Post was sounded by Royal Navy veteran Chic Webb.
The 84-year-old Warden Hill resident, who served between 1943 and 1957, said: "I lived in Kent and we used to go out in the garden and watch it take place every day.
"It was exhilarating at times but very sad. A lot of young men lost their lives. I have sounded Last Post for about 20 years at this service. It's important to mark the day because of the people who died."
Norman Preece, 89, served in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. The Arle resident was a photographer for the Echo when he got called up in 1943.
He said: "A lot of the chaps I knew and did the early parades with have passed on now. It's getting very thin on the ground. I want to see the service kept up. It's something very precious to us. If it wasn't for the Battle of Britain, we might not be enjoying the lifestyle we have now."
Charlotte Palframan, 26, from Winchcombe, is a civilian instructor in the Air Cadets.
She said: "It's very important we remember what happened in the Battle of Britain and the town gives thanks for the freedoms we now have as a result."
The RAF Central Flying School, which used to be based in Little Rissington and has had the freedom of the borough since 1962, took part in the parade.
It possesses a Queen's Colour, which is only paraded on special occasions.
The parade was preceded by a church service at St Mary's.