Battle of Britain commemorated with Roulettes flyover

BIG FLIGHT: The Roulettes flyover marked the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Picture: Kate Healy
BIG FLIGHT: The Roulettes flyover marked the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Picture: Kate Healy

Ballarat residents were treated to a Royal Australian Air Force flyover at the annual Battle of Britain memorial on Sunday afternoon.

Four PC-9 Roulettes completed a pass over the cenotaph on Albert Street at Sebastopol.

It followed a moving ceremony in front of 100 people at noon.

Ballarat’s memorial service was one of only two ceremonies on Sunday that officially recognised the Battle of Britain in Australia.

The famous battle between the British and German air forces took place over England between September 7, 1940 and May 11, 1941.

Ballarat’s memorial included a service at the Uniting Church on Skipton Street, followed a minute’s silence and flyover at the cenotaph.

Royal Australia Air Force Association president Keith Lanyon said although Australian involvement was small during the battle, it was important to keep the history alive for younger generations.

“Someone once said, ‘if we forget the lessons of the past, we are doomed to repeat them’,” Mr Lanyon said.

“I hope firstly that younger people will take away a tradition of service, because communities will only thrive if the people in them are willing to pay the price.

“That is not always about death – it is about challenging the status quo.”

About 34 Australians were killed in the Battle of Britain.

The memorial service was also attended by Ballarat community representatives.

This included Wendouree MP Sharon Knight, Ballarat Grammar students veterans.

The catafalque part, which raised and lowered the Australian and British flags, was made up of Australian Air Force cadets.

Wreathes were also laid at the cenotaph on behalf of the community.

The Roulettes were the highlight of the afternoon, with a large crowd gathered on Albert Street to watch the flyover.

Mr Lanyon said it would help people remember the commitment made by those who fought in the World War Two.

“After the retreat at Dunkirk, Britain and the Commonwealth stood alone,” he said.