Each September we remember the young men who bravely flew over the burning East End and towards danger in the harrowing summer months of 1940, repelling Hitler’s Luftwaffe and saving Britain from invasion. And we remember the aircrew and the ground crew who supported them.
Next year will mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. In the intervening years, so many young men and women have followed in their footsteps, joining the RAF and WRAF during the Second World War, the years of National Service afterwards and right up to today.
Serving alongside these veterans through all those years has been the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity. Since 1919 we have been dedicated to serving the entire RAF family, from the oldest veteran to the youngest child of serving personnel. We’re here for any member of the RAF family in their time of need, whether it be financial, physical or emotional.
But far too often those veterans who served or grew up in the times of “make do and mend” don’t come to us when they’re struggling to get by. They don’t know about us, they don’t want to trouble us, or they don’t think their National Service time in the RAF makes them eligible for our support. But the RAF Benevolent Fund exists to repay “the debt we owe.”
As we mark the anniversary of the Battle of Britain, we encourage RAF veterans to contact us for help with anything from heating costs and home repairs to care home fees or mobility assistance.
Or perhaps your parent or neighbour is an RAF veteran who could use a hand; tell them about us or make that call for them. Visit www.rafbf.org or call 0800 198 2400.
Air Cmdr Paul Hughesdon
R AF Benevolent Fund
67 Portland Place, London