Battle of Britain parade must be saved

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IT is very much hoped that Seaford’s Battle of Britain parade is to be saved (Axe falls on Battle of Britain Parade, April 13). There must be many former RAF national servicemen in the area and they should be urged to join the thriving National Service (Royal Air Force) Association.

It can be reached through its membership secretary, John Kent, Dunelm, Stoke-on-Trent ST9 9QG.

The news that Seaford’s popular September commemoration of the great battle in which the RAF saved the nation from Nazi domination is likely to be abandoned is particularly distressing owing to the area’s important role in the 1939-45 war.

In 1940 an emergency landing ground was established at nearby Friston for RAF aircraft returning damaged from raids on the Continent. This developed into an airfield a few miles from the Seven Sisters cliffs that by December 1944 had two runways, one north-east to south-west of 1,675 yards, the other, north to south of 950 yards. By 1945 the airfield had a complement of 1,400 airmen and women.

The full account of this emergency landing ground is in a book dedicated to the men and women of RAF Friston by Monty Larkin, Ultimus Books, Chiddingly, ISBN 978-0-9553368-1-2. It records how RAF Friston was formed. Air Marshal Sir Gerald Gibbs had been sailing off the coast just before the war and he and his friends tied up at Cuckmere Haven for the night. On a walk the next morning they noticed the flat hinterland behind the cliffs.

Thus the Friston emergency landing ground came to be established for damaged aircraft returning from the Continent.

Roy Roebuck, London.