THE 81st anniversary of the Battle of Britain was marked in Victoria Square this morning, as veterans joined civic dignitaries to honour the country's armed services.

Mayor of Bolton Cllr Linda Thomas, members of the Royal Air Force and Rev Ian Hepburn were among those taking part in the remembrance service.

Wreaths were laid after a speech by the Mayor.

The Battle of Britain which took place in the summer and autumn of 1940, was the first campaign in history to be fought in the air alone.

Cllr Thomas said: "We record our continuing sense of gratitude for what was achieved in the darkest moments of war, and we rededicate ourselves to strive untiringly for peace, justice, and freedom in the world.

“We also remember the tireless efforts of RAF servicemen and women who have served in nearly every part of the globe as far eastwards as Hong Kong, Borneo, and Malaya.

“We also acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and sacrifices of the men and women of the Royal Air Force still serving in the troubled regions of the world.”

Bolton commemorates the 81st anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Bolton commemorates the 81st anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Germany struggled for air superiority in the lead up to a land invasion, but the Luftwaffe failed to overcome the RAF’s Hurricanes and Spitfires.

Both sides suffered heavy losses in the process, with almost 550 pilots from Britain and 2,500 pilots from Germany killed.

Hitler was subsequently forced to abandon the land invasion.

Cllr Thomas said: “It’s important for the town to demonstrate remembrance of this battle which we shouldn’t forget.

“It was lovely that the sun was also out, and members of the RAF travelled here from as far as Cornwall.

“It also sends a message that people are starting to come back into the town and with the town hall’s first event since re-opening, it couldn’t have been better.”

The High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Mrs Diane Hawkins along with other civic dignitaries were also in attendance along with the 611 Squadron RAF Woodvale and the Bolton, Bury, Leigh & Wigan RAF Association (RAFA) who helped organised the service.