Moffat To Hold Commemorative Service for Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding – September 2nd 2018

A commemorative service including a Fly-Past by a Spitfire and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be held in Moffat on  Sunday 2 September 2018 at the Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding memorial in Station Park Moffat at 2.25pm.

Hurricane over Moffat, 2016 – Credit Annandale Arms Hotel


Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding of Bentley Priory GCB GCVO CMG (1882 – 1970)

The Moffat Memorial to commemorate Lord Dowding’s birth in the town was unveiled in September 1972. It was built as a result of an appeal instigated by Miss Irene Park MBE of Moffat, an ex—WAAF officer during World War II. Its objective, to which very many people contributed, was to recognise the contribution of Lord Dowding to the success of the Royal Air Force in winning the “Battle of Britain” in 1940 by defeating the German Luftwaffe.

Scott Sutherland, also responsible for the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, executed the bronze plaque of Lord Dowding. The memorial includes the famous words of Prime Minister Churchill about the pilots of the RAF, the badges of Fighter Command and the fact that he was born in Moffat. The town motto “Nunquam Non Paratus” (Ready Aye Ready) is very applicable to Lord Dowding’s life.

In 1988, as a result of a public appeal, the Dowding family home in Moffat, now known as Dowding house, was opened as Sheltered Housing for ex–RAF personnel and their families.

The family left Moffat for the south in 1897 and, after school, Dowding joined the Army and then transferred to the newly formed Royal Flying Corps, seeing much active service in the First World War. In the 1930’s he was involved in the introduction of ground/air radio and subsequently in research and development of aircraft. At this time he also pushed for an increase in the production of the new Spitfire and Hurricane fighter aircraft. In addition, the development of radar and all-weather runways was a priority for him. It was an uphill struggle.

In 1936 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command and able to concentrate on the air defence of the nation in the face of the threatened war with Germany. His plans and ideas were not well received by his fellow officers but were, despite facing greater odds, to save the nation from invasion in a few short weeks in 1940 – “The Battle of Britain “. The RAF lost 1038 aircraft and 544 pilots and aircrew.

Recognition is due not only to the aircrew but also the ground crews, who kept the aircraft flying, the flight controllers, mostly WAAF, the radar personnel and the Royal Observer Corps. It was under Lord Dowding’s guidance, leadership and control that this force was established and saved the nation from the Luftwaffe attack, which was an essential preparation for the German planned sea-borne invasion. Winston Churchill, in referring to his leadership at this time, stated, We must regard the general-ship here shown as an example of genius in the art of war “.

During his memorial service at Westminster Abbey in 1970 he was designated “The Architect of Deliverance”.

Dumfries Town Band
Welcome Councillor Stephen Thompson
Introduction Air Commodore Bryan Collins RAF (Ret)
Fly-Past by a Spitfire and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, RAF Coningsby
Service Parish Minister

1 Almighty Father of the sky Be with our aircrew when they fly, And keep them in thy loving care Amid the perils of the air, O let our cry come unto thee For those who fly o’er land and sea.
2 Strong Son of Man, save those who fly Swift-winged across the uncharted sky, Be with them always in the air, In darkening storms or sunlight fair. O’er land and ocean safely bear All those in peril in the air.
3 O Holy Spirit, God’s own power, Gives peace in sudden danger’s hour, O wind of heaven, by thy might Save all who dare the eagle’s flight, And keep them in thy watchful care From every peril in the air.
4 O Trinity of love and might, Be with our aircrews day and night, In peace or war, midst friend or foe, Be with them whereso’er they go. Thus shall our prayers ascend to thee With those who fly o’er land and sea.

Tribute Air Marshal Stuart Atha CB, DSO (RAF)
The Recorded Voice of Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding GCB GCVO CMG (From a radio broadcast – September 1946 – by kind permission of the BBC)
Dowding Salute composed by Gavin Simpson – former pupil of Moffat Academy
The Wreath Laying Guest Piper
Poem High Flight by John Magee – Pilot Officer with RCAF (died 1941 after his spitfire collided with another plane during training) read by Ciaran Dowds
Benediction Parish Minister

The National Anthem 1 God save our gracious Queen Long live our noble Queen God save the Queen Send her victorious Happy and glorious Long to reign over us God save the Queen.

2 Thy choicest gifts in store On her be pleased to pour Long may she reign May she defend our laws And ever give us cause To sing with heart and voice God save the Queen.

Event supported by Dumfries and Galloway Council


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