WHEN RAAF Association Ballarat Branch president Gordon Jarvis was a boy of seven there was a pivotal battle going on above his head.
It was 1940 and the German Air Force fought the Royal Air Force in the skies over Britain in one of the most important World War II battles.
Mr Jarvis lived 10 miles south of London and watched shrapnel and bits of machine gun ammunition fall out of the sky.
On the final day of the battle on September 15 the RAF overcame the Nazis and changed the course of history.
“The Germans had so many aircraft and crew down, they weren’t going to carry on,” Mr Jarvis said.
“Had it not been won by the British and Britain had been invaded and subject to Nazi rule, Australia, New Zealand and all nations of the British Empire would have been subject to a Nazi totalitarian regime.”
The RAAF Association Ballarat Branch held at wreath laying service at the Sebastopol cenotaph in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the battle yesterday.
A fly-over of RV-6 and Grumman Tiger aircraft from the Ballarat Aero Club also marked the occasion.
Mr Jarvis said it was staged as a mark of respect to those that didn’t make it.
“It’s important we understand and acknowledge the history,” he said.
RAAF Association Ballarat Branch past president Tom Roberts said it could be a very different civilisation and world today had the Nazis won.