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RAF Air Cadets Mark 80th Anniversary of D-Day at Runnymede

On Thursday 30th May, RAF Air Cadets visited the Runnymede Air Forces Memorial as part of commemorations marking the 80th Anniversary of D-Day.

RAF Air Cadets with the Torch

The event was part of  the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC's) ‘Lighting Their Legacy’ torch roadshow, which aims to engage younger generations in commemorating those who sacrificed their lives during World War II. 

The ceremony, saw local cadets from 398 (Staines & Egham) Squadron, direct descendants of those commemorated on the memorial, and members of the wider Runnymede community come together in a poignant tribute. The event emphasized the importance of education and remembrance, highlighting the enduring relevance of D-Day’s lessons for today’s youth. 

The CWGC's Torch being handed over to RAF Air Cadets
The CWGC's Torch being handed over to RAF Air Cadets

A key moment of the ceremony was the passing of the CWGC’s torch of commemoration. Frances Dodson, granddaughter of Francis John Brooker, an RAF Pilot who was lost during a mission in 1940, and Peter Clare, whose father Seymour Clare, also an RAF Pilot, died in 1942, handed the torch to the air cadets. The symbolic act represented the transfer of the duty of remembrance from one generation to the next. 

Ms. Dodson expressed her hope that the cadets would be inspired to carry forward the legacy of those who fought in the war, stating,

“It was wonderful to pass that legacy on and hope that, if the time came again, they would be willing to do exactly what [my grandfather] did.” 

Mr. Clare echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of remembering the sacrifices made by previous generations.

“The youngsters of today, they’re the future,” he said, urging the cadets to ensure that the stories of the fallen live on.