Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, has hailed Jamaican war veterans who fought for Britain during World War II from 1939 to 1945. He said they demonstrated tremendous acts of gallantry, commitment and sacrifices in the fight for freedom.
“A resounding message out of the service of the veterans is that no good cause or just demand should be ignored by those who have the means to make a difference,” the Governor-General said.
He was addressing the Royal Air Force Association’s (RAFA) 70th Anniversary dinner held at Curphey Place in Swallowfield, St. Andrew, on September 14. The Governor-General, who is patron of RAFA, commended the association for its work over the seven decades.
“The acts of charity demonstrated since your inception have unquestionably enabled you to create a strong sense of community among your members and have positively impacted your ability to remain relevant in a rapidly changing society,” he noted.
Chairman of RAFA Jamaica, Major (Ret’d) Johanna Lewin, in an interview with JIS News, said the anniversary dinner was held to further strengthen the spirit of camaraderie among members and to honour the veterans, some of whom were present at the event.
Major (Ret’d) Lewin also emphasised the value of remembering and recognising the service of the war veterans.
“We must not forget these men fought for our freedom so we could have freedom of speech and movement, and so on. It’s very important for us to recognise what they did, their service, and that they helped us that we know what we know today,” she said.
RAFA Jamaica (580 Branch) was established in 1946 and is a division of the United Kingdom (UK)-based charitable organisation that was set up in 1943. It provides care and support to retired members of the Royal Air Forces as well as retired members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Air Wing.
Major Lewin said the 70th anniversary activities include the publication of a commemorative magazine as well as several fundraising activities. In March, the association launched its Wings Appeal 2016 campaign, which raises money to support ex-service personnel and their families. The campaign will run until December. She said there are also plans to bring the ‘Pilots of the Caribbean’ display to Jamaica next year. The exhibition of African-Caribbean people who volunteered in the two world wars is being showcased in New York.
The organisation is also marking Battle of Britain Week, which recalls the aerial battles that were waged during the summer and autumn months of 1940, and marked one of the first real defeats of the Germans in World War II. A church service and brunch was held on Sunday, September 11 to launch the activities, followed by a wreath-laying service at the Cenotaph at National Heroes Park on Thursday (Sept. 15).