A special event is being planned this weekend by Ballymoney First Presbyterian Church to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain
In 1940, the Royal Air Force (RAF) defended the UK against the ferocity of the German Luftwaffe. It was an epic four month campaign from 10 July – 31 October 1940.
Commemorative events over the weekend have been organised by the First Presbyterian Church in an effort to raise funds for two local charities – NI Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Care – and everyone is invited to a Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving on Sunday 16 August at 3pm, which will be preceded by a parade from the Royal British Legion in Townhead Street to the church.
Ballymoney First Presbyterian Church will be remembering the local people who took part in the battle. These include a member of their own congregation, Flight Lieutenant Robert Stevenson Cromie of 615 Squadron, who was killed on 18 August 1940. Robert was a popular and well respected doctor working at RAF Kenley and he was killed when the airfield was bombed shortly after midday. Robert was brought home to Ballymoney for burial in the town cemetery.
In addition, the church is collaborating with the Ulster Aviation Society (UAS) and, in a wonderful gesture in support of the weekend’s charity collection, they have kindly agreed to bring their impressive full size replica Spitfire for display to Townhead Street Car Park over the weekend, beginning at 11am on Saturday 15 August.
Ballymoney Museum is also supporting the weekend of commemoration with the launch of a new exhibition, “Fate of our Nation”, highlighting the stories of local men and women during the war, in service and at home. Visitors to the museum will have the exciting opportunity to see the WWII medals and flight log book of Ballymoney’s Battle of Britain hero, Flight Officer Matthew Cameron and the medals of Flight Sergeant Francis McCluskey, the Ballymoney airman killed over Holland when his Halifax bomber was shot down in 1942.
The Service of Remembrance & Thanksgiving begins at 3pm on Sunday 16 August in Ballymoney First Presbyterian Church. The church collection, and all proceeds from the weekend, will be donated to NI Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Care. Visitors can see the Spitfire from 11am on Saturday 15 August in Townhead Street Car Park, and it will be on display in Ballymoney until Sunday. The exhibition “Fate of our Nation” is on display at Ballymoney Museum from 15 August – 31 October.