Halton celebrates Battle of Britain with a 60 Foot Motif

RAF Halton’s Warrant Officer’s and Sergeant’s Mess held a Battle of Britain formal function and the star of the show was a 60 foot Battle of Britain motif painted on the grass of the bowling green of the Mess.

The motif was painted by Flight Lieutenant Andy Claesens with his partner in crime, Sgt Russ Barber.

During the evening’s formal sunset ceremony, members of the Mess and partners gathered around the motif for a photo taken from above by the Station’s drone before going on to enjoy a very social evening with 1940’s entertainment provided by the Three Belles.

Flight Lieutenant Andy Claesens said: “We were asked to do a scaled up Battle of Britain motif and this is the biggest piece of art work I have undertaken at 60 foot high with a 40 foot wingspan. We laid it out and measured it. The wings of the Spitfire were drawn by eye and were only a few inches off when we measured them. The Typhoon was in the centre, but I wasn’t happy with the nose so had to buy some green paint which rounded off my career as having painted grass green!! but it was well worth the effort.”

On the actual anniversary of the Battle of Britain, RAF Halton personnel gathered for a Station Muster Parade and Sunset Ceremony on the same lawn around the motif.

Led by the Station Padres’, there was music and words from Winston Churchill played during the solemn ceremony and once again the Station drone took images.

Station Commander, Group Captain Adrian Burns, who led the tributes, said: “It is right and proper that we mark this 75th anniversary, where so many gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom they fought for. They would want us to live in a free society so their sacrifice was not in vain.”

The final salute to the anniversary came after the ceremony when, in driving rain, the Station held a Soap Box Derby. Sections from the Station built their own Battle of Britain themed soap boxes and gathered for a race which was won by the team from the Training Development Wing. The idea, which came from the Padres, encouraged the spirit of teamwork in celebration and honour of ‘The Few’.”