Silent tribute to war hero fighter pilots - SLIDESHOW

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SEVERAL hundred people gathered in Sheffield to pay silent tribute to the hero fighter pilots who gave their lives to protect Britain and change the course of World War Two - and paratroopers who fought in vain to try to take key bridges from the Germans.

Veterans, cadets, serving members of the armed forces and South Yorkshire residents gathered to remember those killed in the Battle of Britain and Battle of Arnhem.

Complete silence fell after the Last Post rang across the square.

Wreaths were laid on the war memorial at Barker’s Pool, and then the standard bearers, 15 veterans and 114 RAF cadets marched to the Cathedral, accompanied by Oughtibridge Brass Band.

Dignitaries including the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, David Moody, and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Coun Sylvia Dunkley, were among those attending the service.

Canon Christopher Burke told the congregation: “We meet, in the presence of God, to remember those who fought in the Battle of Britain and the Battle of Arnhem.

“We recall with gratitude the sacrifice made by colleague and comrades in times past - and give thanks for the lives of those who have died during the past year.

“We pray too for those who are victims of war in our time, for those bear the sorrows of bereavement, and for the healing of the divisions of between nations and people which are the cause of war.”

Among those who watched the parade and ceremony was Michael Akeroid, aged 51, of Lodge Moor, Sheffield.

He said: “It’s nice they still do this every year. I like to come and pay my respects.

“I had family members who died in the First World War, at the Somme, so I like to attend events like this.”

Bob Coggin, whose 14-year-old air cadet son Daniel took part in the parade, said: “It has been a good day for it, for people to show their respects.”

Gordon Unsworth, chairman of the Sheffield Royal Air Forces Association, said the day was organised to “pay tribute to those who were involved in these battles against those who threatened the freedom of our country and those of our allies”.

He added: “There are many who still bear the physical and emotional scars of those conflicts.”

In Rotherham a marching band, veterans, cadets and members of the Girl’s Venture Corps marched from Clifton Park and to Rotherham Minster in their own commemoration of World War Two’s battles.

The events were held to mark the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Britain, in which the Royal Air Force won an epic battle to protect British skies from the German Luftwaffe, and the 67th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem.

The confrontation saw around 20,000 British and American troops were flown behind enemy lines to attempt to capture the eight bridges which spanned the network of canals and rivers on the Dutch and German border.