80th Anniversary Year of The Battle of Heligoland Bight, Ely Cathedral, 18th December 2018
|Author: Marius West||Published: 18th December 2018 07:24|
Act of Remembrance, 80th Anniversary Year of The Battle of Heligoland Bight, Ely Cathedral, 18th December 2018
On Monday 18th December 1939 a joint formation of 24 bombers took off from RAF Mildenhall, Honington and Feltwell.
A chilly, bright morning during the coldest winter for 45 years. Visibility was clear at over 50 miles. The order was to attack German warships at sea off Wilhemshaven. On reaching the target area they encountered a potent force of Luftwaffe fighters.
In little more than 30 minutes the damage inflicted on the RAF resulted in the loss of 12 Wellingtons and 57 airmen: an absolute disaster so early in the War. The Luftwaffe lost two pilots. This outcome influenced Bomber Command's decision to switch from daylight raids to night-time operations. Winston Churchill had yet to take over as Prime Minister. ‘The Fall of France' and ‘The Battle of Britain' were some months off.
The Act of Remembrance, conducted by Canon Chris Barber, will take place at 2pm at Ely Cathedral, marking the beginning of the 80th Anniversary Year of The Battle of Heligoland Bight, when relatives of the airmen who participated in the 1939 action will gather for the first time.