Sunderland war veterans' special invitation to commemorate Battle of Britain

Sunderland Mayor Alan Emerson (right).
Sunderland Mayor Alan Emerson (right).
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Veterans from across Sunderland are invited to help commemorate one of this country's greatest military triumphs.

Next Thursday is the anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which in 1940 was a turning point in the Second World War.

To help mark the anniversary and pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of all those from Sunderland who have served in the Armed Forces, a civic reception is being held in the Mayor's Parlour.

The Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Alan Emerson, will welcome invited guests including veterans, veterans groups and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Frank Major, at 11am.

After giving a short speech about the Battle of Britain, the Mayor will invite guests to observe a minute's silence before presenting veterans' badges to the latest former service men and women to come forward to receive their commemorative lapel badges.

The Mayor said: “The anniversary of the Battle of Britain provides us all with the opportunity not only to remember the bravery and sacrifice of those Winston Churchill famously referred to as ‘the few’ who fought in the skies as part of the RAF, but also the ‘many’ from our community who have served in our armed forces over the years.

​“None of us should ever forget how important victory was in that battle, or underestimate the contribution all those who have spent time in the military have made to our lives protecting this nation’s security.

​“ I am honoured to have been asked to present these badges to our veterans, as a gesture of recognition and thanks from us all for their service and their families sacrifice.”

The lapel badges awarded on behalf of the Ministry of Defence were launched in 2004 as a way of recognising people’s service.

They are available for anyone who has served in the armed force's regular or reserve services, or receives a widower or widower's pension.

The presentation is organised by the Sunderland Armed Forces Network (SAFN) who invite veterans of all ages to apply for their badges by contacting them via 0191 561 8888 orsunderlandafn@gmail.com

SAFN was established after Sunderland City Council signed the Armed Force Covenant in 2012, and is partnership with veterans’ groups and serving personnel to promote and protect the interests of the 26,000 people living in the city with service records.

The network provides help and support with resettlement into all aspects of community, civilian life such as employment, skills, education and housing working alongside families and community groups.

Chairman of the Sunderland Armed Forces Network, Graham Hall, added: “The Battle of Britain truly shaped world history, and we should always remember the sacrifice and bravery of all those involved.

“The occasion always gives the opportunity to remember that Sunderland has the highest proportion of veterans of any city in the country, and presents an opportunity for Veterans to have their veterans' badge presented to them and encourage others to apply to receive theirs.

“The criteria to receive a veterans’ badge is that you must have served in regular or reserved forces or be in receipt of an Armed Forces Widows or Widowers Pension. It is immaterial how long you served, when you served or what age you are, as everyone is classed as a veteran upon discharge.”