September 15th is marked as the commemoration day for the Battle of Britain so memorials were taking across the country both at RAF bases and in cities.
The Battle of Britain was one of the only battles during WW2 to be named before the battle had taken place and came from the famous ‘Their finest hour’ speech by Winston Churchill ‘What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin’
In Great Britain, the battles duration is recognised as being from 10th July – 31st October 1940 however German historians combine the Blitz (which over laps the Battle of Britain) as one campaign. In the quest for the German’s to achieve air superiority heavy losses were sustained on both sides with 544 Fighter Command air crew lost along with 1023 aircraft. The average age of a pilot was just 20 and they were dying at a great rate than they were being trained. Anyway, that’s just a snapshot; I’m not a historian and there are plenty of books and articles on the Battle of Britain which will give you an accurate picture of what our ancestors experienced.
RAF Scampton were hosting their dining in night on September 22nd which was to take place in the Officers mess as Kirton in Lindsey. As well as a formal dinner, there were to be several vignettes followed by entertainment – The Project Officer wanted to give an ENSA performance feel so I was engaged along with Heather Marie Little and Stuart Lowther.
Heather Marie has great ties with the RAF – as well as fundraising her husband is Squadron Leader Matthew Little and it was an honour to meet them both. Heather sung a beautiful Ivor Novello Song called ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs’ written at the end of the war in 1945. It talks of being reunited and the yearning of being apart so a perfect and touching song which was sung wonderfully.
Following dinner, service personnel and guests were welcomed into the lounge for a cheese board and entertainment.
Heather Marie opened this up with a selection of music from World War 2; we then bid them good bye on their long journey back to London.
Darren, along with Flt Lt Rose had worked on the stage setting with Darren completing the look with 3 up-lighters in red, white and blue as well as our trusty 3mtr Union Flag as the backdrop
It was a real pleasure and a treat to be able to sit and watch Heather Marie (which doesn’t happen very often as I am normally rushing round doing something else) and experience the joy of being in the audience.
We were also introduced to Stuart Lowther who was to do a 30-minute set of George Formby. Well, we were blown away by him. Considering he looked a little nervous once he got on the stage he looked so comfortable in contrast! He commanded the stage and his et flowed nicely, making jokes here and then and my goodness he can play that uke!
Again, we were thoroughly entertained by this fantastic young man.
We concluded the night with a sing along, We’ll meet again, Land of Hope and Glory followed by the Hockey Pokey and the Conga.
It was an absolute privilege to be involved in such a wonderful evening and commemoration.
We Will Remember Them
“RAF Scampton Battle of Britain DiN
A big thank you from myself and all the mess members. A superb night with the right atmosphere and tempo. So very glad some of you could also make it to the dinner and big thank you to all involved in the evening. From our Mess Ents Committee Member I thought I would pass on his words.
‘Great night, I thought it was fantastic and didn’t want to leave’.
So thank you for all your efforts and look forward to crossing paths in future.”
Tags: 1940s, 1940s singer, 1940s tribute, 1940s tribute act, battle of Britain, BOB, dining in, entertainer, heather little, heather marie, jayne darling, kirton in lindsey, RAF, RAF Scampton, second world war, stuart lowther, swing, vera Lynn tribute, vintage, vintage singer, vintage vocalist, wartime tribute, world war 2, ww2