Spitfire flypast and presentation after Battle of Britain service in Carrick

The Royal Air Forces Association in Northern Ireland has held its annual Act of Remembrance at Joymount Presbyterian Church, Carrickfergus.

Saturday, 11th September 2021, 1:00 pm

The Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, David McCorkell, the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey and Air Marshal Sean Reynolds were the principal guests at last Sunday’s service.

Wing Commander Noel Williams, Carrickfergus branch chairman and chair of the RAF Association in Northern Ireland, said: “Sunday’s event was to remember ‘The Few’, the airmen and airwomen, who had their finest hour between July and October 1940, when we kept our flying machines serviceable in order that our young pilots could defend our shores in the air, and prevent the land invasion planned by Hitler. Moreover, we gave thanks for the Carrickfergus branch reaching its 75th anniversary milestone, whilst the Air Cadet Organisation, formed in 1941, celebrated its 80th anniversary.”

The occasion was also marked by a Spitfire flypast over the castle and Joymounnt area of the town. Click here

Members of the RAF contingent at the Battle of Britain service at Joymount. Photos: SAC James Braithwaite

Mr McCorkell remarked: “I am always happy to visit Carrickfergus and particularly to enjoy a well organised Act of Remembrance by the RAF Association and the Rev Richard Graham in Joymount Church, who, on this occasion was supported by the Presbyterian Moderator, Rt Rev Dr David Bruce. It was especially pleasing to have a second world war Spitfire expertly overfly three times after the service.”

The Lesson was read by Air Marshal Sean Reynolds, the Air Officer NI, who stated afterwards: “It was a pleasure to support the RAF Association together with the Lord Lieutenant and the Mayor. It was splendid to have airmen and airwomen from Aldergrove present and to see ATC Cadets supporting our veterans in what is the Air Cadet Organisation’s 80th year.”

A delegation from council was also in attendance, led by the first citizen. Councillor McCaughey said: “Meeting the servicemen and women and the veterans, including 97-year-old David Moffatt, a Lancaster Bomber Rear Gunner, who flew 33 missions, was a special highlight. Particularly as my father-in-law was an RAF Squadron Leader.

“Of course, the Spitfire flypasts, together with the growling of its engine, was a treat I will long remember.”

Air Marshal Reynolds reads the Lesson.

Carrickfergus RAFA branch president, Maureen Irwin said: “It is wholly appropriate to keep alive the memory of ‘The Few’, the brave men and women, many of whom were barely out of their teens at the time, whose courage defeated the evil that was attempting to overrun our country during WWII.”

The branch also made a presentation to Rev Richard Graham, to mark a special milestone.

Wing Commander Williams explained: “The Reverend Richard Graham facilitated his usual excellent Order of Service, ably supported by the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church. It was the twentieth consecutive year that Richard had invited us to his wonderful church, so it was wholly appropriate to mark the occasion by presenting him with a RAFA plaque, and as he was associated with the Air Cadets for even longer, one of our large Cadet bears.

“We wish him and him family well, and a long and healthy retirement as he departs Joymount later this year.”

Wing Commander Noel Williams conducts the Act of Remembrance.

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Standard Bearer Andy Conn leaving the church.
Carrick RAFA branch president Maureen Irwin present a RAFA plaque and Cadet bear to Rev Richard Graham, with the Presbyterian Moderator, Rt Rev Dr David Bruce.
The Lord Lieutenant in conversation with an airwoman.
The Mayor, Cllr William McCaughey and council colleagues attended the Battle of Britain Act of Remembrance.