The Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Army Band Tasmania supported Battle of Britain 80th anniversary commemorations in Hobart over September 12 and 13, with a remembrance service at St David’s Cathedral and a cenotaph service and wreath-laying at the Hobart cenotaph.
While traditionally attended by Chief of Air Force in person, this year, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld delivered his reading to the remembrance service virtually and had the Commanding Officer of No. 29 Squadron (29SQN) at Anglesea Barracks in Hobart read a speech on his behalf at the cenotaph.
"Despite the logistical challenges of this year's Battle of Britain commemorations, Air Force continues to recognise and pay respect to the Australian airmen who flew with the Royal Air Force for one of the greatest air battles ever fought," Air Marshal Hupfeld said.
"I sincerely thank the Tasmanian Division of the RAAF Association [RAAFA] for their organisation of the weekend's commemorations and the Australian Army Band Tasmania for providing musical support."
29SQN Commanding Officer Wing Commander Dion Wright stood in for Air Marshal Hupfeld at the cenotaph service.
"While travel restrictions prevented interstate dignitaries from attending, as well as our national Air Force Band and usual flypasts, it did not prevent us from remembering," Wing Commander Wright said.
"29SQN is proud to be a part of the national Battle of Britain commemorative activities and while Air Force support was reduced from previous years, the commemorative occasion was by no means less."
29SQN Executive Officer Squadron Leader Paul Gough said many RAAFA Tasmania Division office bearers were serving members.
"The relationship between 29SQN and the RAAFA is built on a common set of values and pride in the service," Squadron Leader Gough said.
"While the RAAFA is primarily an ex-serving members' organisation, current serving members supplement the membership ranks and continue to be an integral part of their social fabric."
The Battle of Britain was arguably the world's first major military campaign fought entirely in the air.
Eighty years later, we continue to remember the young pilots of the Commonwealth and other allies who launched their aircraft into the sky against a seemingly insurmountable onslaught from axis forces and the endless work of the ground crews and men and women of Fighter Command who coordinated the battle above their heads.
"Their sacrifice forged the values and traditions that have shaped what Air Force is today, galvanised by nearly a century of dedication in the defence of our nation and its interests," Air Marshal Hupfeld said.
"As Air Force transitions from a bespoke force of standalone capabilities to a networked force capable of delivering air and space power effects for the integrated force, it continues to guarantee our security, prosperity and values secured in no small part by the actions of the courageous aviators of the past.
"History is complex and few events can be considered a singularly pivotal moment which went on to shape our world. Among those few moments, the Battle of Britain holds a place.
"Lest we forget."