JIS News

Jamaican war veterans who fought for Britain during World War II some six decades ago, will commemorate Battle of Britain Week alongside their English and international counterparts, with a slate of activities from Monday, September 12 to Sunday, September 18.
Chairman of the Jamaica branch of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA), Barry Beckford, explained to JIS News that the celebration is meant to recall aerial battles that were waged during World War II, in particular, “the Battle of Britain, which was September 15, 1940, when the British royal air force defeated the German air force”.
Mr. Beckford said that Governor General, His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Howard Cooke officially launched the RAFA’s Wings Appeal yesterday (September 7). The Wings Appeal, he noted, was similar to the Poppy Appeal, in that a wing, as opposed to a poppy, is given to donors in the fund-raising drive for those who fought in the World War.
Outlining the activities to be held during the week, Mr. Beckford informed that on Wednesday, September 14, a re-union dinner would be hosted at Curphey Place. Invited guests include the British High Commissioner, Jeremy Cresswell and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin.
The following day, a wreath-laying ceremony would take place at the Cenotaph at the National Heroes Park, which Mr. Beckford said, was an occasion “in memory of those who died in World War II, ex-members of the Royal Air Force and the Commonwealth forces”. On Saturday, September 17, a fund-raising golf tournament is scheduled for the Constant Spring Golf Club, with a prize-giving ceremony to follow at the end of the game.
The week-long celebrations conclude on Sunday, September 18 with a church service at the Garrison Church, Up Park Camp, after which a brunch and band concert will be held at Curphey Place.
The RAFA Chairman said all fund-raising activities during the course of the week as well as money garnered through the Wings Appeal, would go towards caring for indigent ex-servicemen.
“For example, at Curphey Home in Mandeville, which is a residential home for ex-servicemen.there is on-going assistance in kind and funds,”Mr. Beckford said.
He added that during the Christmas season, two main functions are held in Kingston and Mandeville, where gift packages are prepared for the former servicemen, and money is also donated.
Membership in the Jamaica branch of the Royal Air Force is currently estimated at 200 World War II veterans.