Battle of Britain Day: Wearside veterans honoured on anniversary

Armed Forces veterans receive their badges from the Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Barry Curran
Armed Forces veterans receive their badges from the Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Barry Curran
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Wearside veterans had their service recognised at a special ceremony yesterday – 75 years since the Battle of Britain Day.

At an event at the Mayor’s Parlour, in the Civic Centre, Sunderland, 24 people were presented with a veteran’s badge, acknowledging their service.

World War Two veteran Wallace Hepburn receives his veteran's badge from the Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Barry Curran

World War Two veteran Wallace Hepburn receives his veteran's badge from the Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Barry Curran

Among the recipients was Wallace Hepburn, 96, from Sunderland, who served in the RAF during the Second World War.

The presentations were made by the Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Barry Curran, and organised by the Sunderland Armed Forces Network.

Graham Hall, its chairman, said: “It’s important that the city recognises the service and contribution of veterans, and that is part of the reasoning behind events like this.

“Even those who came home brought with them the problems and trauma of war, and had to live with that afterwards.

It’s important that the city recognises the service and contribution of veterans, and that is part of the reasoning behind events like this

Graham Hall

“The veteran’s badge was introduced in 2004 as an acknowledgement of their sacrifice, and those who receive them tend to wear the badge with pride.

“The veterans are proud of their armed forces and indeed their country, and it’s only right that we recognise their service.”

On Mr Hepburn, Mr Hall added: “It was very poignant that Wallace received his badge on the Battle of Britain Day.

“That was part of the reason why we chose that date to make the presentations.

“It was also a good chance to pay homage to the other veterans, particularly the ones who are no longer with us.

“That was a pivotal point in British history, alongside Waterloo and various other battles.”

The event coincided with Battle of Britain Day, and recipients were joined by their families as the presentations were made.

The recipients had all applied for a badge after the Sunderland Armed Forces Network called on veterans to come forward.

More than 160 applications came in, and each will receive their badge.

The network is looking to organise two presentation ceremonies every year, and chose yesterday deliberately to mark the Battle of Britain Day.

The Battle of Britain was an air campaign between July and October 1940, with Great Britain coming under fire from German forces.

On September 15, the most sustained bombing attack took place, with the RAF engaged to defend London and the South East, eventually leading to a vital victory for Britain. About 1,500 aircraft took part in that day’s battle.

Mr Hepburn was the oldest recipient yesterday, at 96, but the age range was wide, with veterans in their 20s also having their service recognised.