Eighteen members of the Royal Air Force based in Southern Romania, have participated in a parade in the city of Buzau in memory of the men and women who have died whilst serving in the Romanian Armed Forces.
Two RAF Typhoons provided a flypast over the crowd, in formation with the Romanian Air Force, who swept over the crowd just before in a MiG-21 LanceR jet.
Wing Commander Chris Ball and personnel under his command who are currently deployed as part of the NATO Enhanced Air Policing mission over the Black Sea region were invited to represent the UK Armed Forces at the parade.
The parade started at Cimitirul Eroilor (The Heroes Cemetery) of Buzau, which contains the graves of 9,653 service personnel from several nations, who died during WW1 and WW2.
“This has been an incredible experience and one that I am sure will stand out as a highlight of my career in years to come. Representing the UK Armed Forces, marching in a beautiful Romanian city, in front of all these smiling locals with fellow members of the RAF and military personnel from across Europe is an experience I will never forget!”
Flying Officer Jennifer Scalisi-Cain
The Heroes’ Day event began with a religious service and wreath-laying ceremony at the war cemetery, which was attended by civic and military officials, ambassadors and politicians from across NATO, including the British Ambassador to Romania, Mr Paul Brummell. This year Heroes’ Day was particularly special to Romania as the country celebrates its 100TH birthday since the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina creating the Romanian Kingdom in 1918.
The cemetery street was resurfaced and renamed “Heroes Street” ahead of the parade, and military personnel from across NATO travelled from various locations to attend, including Bulgaria, Moldova, Turkey, Italy, Austria and Canada, all marking the significance of the first Heroes’ Day parade in Buzau.
“Today is a celebration to honour the heroes who have put their lives on the line for their country. I am delighted to see that they have not been forgotten and that Heroes’ Day this year has been celebrated by this high profile event with our international friends.”
General of the Brigade, Nicolae Enache
95-year-old WW2 veteran
Romania commemorates its heroes every year, 40 days after Easter, on the Ascension Day. On the 4th May 1920, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church decided the religious feast of the Lord’s Ascension should be called, at the same time, “Heroes’ Day”. This year, the Heroes’ Day national holiday has fallen on 17 May, several events have been organised by the local authorities across Romania. Romania lost over 335,000 soldiers in WW1 and some 300,000 more in WW2. There are many monuments in Romania to honour those who have died for their country, including service personnel from other nations across Europe.
“Not only is it a great honour to be allowed to have our Typhoons and troops participate in the parade, but the reception they have received from the crowd was truly outstanding. As the RAF celebrates its 100th birthday this year, it was great to be a part of Romania’s 100-year celebration, and particularly at this event in remembrance of those who have died in service to their country.”
Wing Commander Chris Ball
Commanding Officer of 135 EAW