‘What these brave men gave for their country should never be forgotten’

The flypast at Islandmagee on Saturday in memory of Battle of Britain pilots. INCT 35-740-CON
The flypast at Islandmagee on Saturday in memory of Battle of Britain pilots. INCT 35-740-CON

An RAF flypast took place during a poignant service in memory of two Battle of Britain pilots from Mid and East Antrim at the weekend.

The remembrance at Islandmagee New Cemetery on Saturday was in honour of Whitehead men, Squadron Leader Noel Henry Corry DFC AE, and Sergeant John ‘Johnny Mac’ McAdam, who are both buried at the site.

The memorial service for Battle of Britain pilots in Islandmagee on Saturday.

The memorial service for Battle of Britain pilots in Islandmagee on Saturday.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight carried out a flypast featuring Second World War aircraft.

The Mayor, Councillor Paul Reid, said: “The Battle of Britain saw the RAF defend this nation, with many paying the ultimate sacrifice.

“The Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill’s famous words reflected the nation’s thoughts of those brave fighters: ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’.

“As mayor of this borough, it is humbling that among those who took to the skies to defend our freedom were two local men, Squadron Leader Noel Henry Corry, and Flight Sergeant John McAdam

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight carried out a flypast featuring Second World War aircraft.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight carried out a flypast featuring Second World War aircraft.

“Squadron Leader Corry, who served in Fighter and Bomber Commands, survived the war and became a civil servant. He passed away in 2006.

“Flight Sergeant McAdam served through the Battle of Britain with Number 41 Squadron at Hornchurch, and was credited with shooting down six enemy aircraft. He was shot down three times himself before being killed in February 1941.

“I want to pay tribute to the commitment and bravery of both men. It is a tremendous tribute that the Battle of Britain Memorial Flypast has been secured for the men.

“I would like to thank Mr Hewitt and all those who made today’s memorial service possible.”

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid, speaking at the memorial service in Islandmagee on Saturday. INCT 35-742-CON

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid, speaking at the memorial service in Islandmagee on Saturday. INCT 35-742-CON

Author and historian John Hewitt campaigned for the flypast as a fitting tribute to the two men and all of the pilots from Northern Ireland who served in the Battle of Britain.

He said: “I feel that what these brave men gave for their country, one of them his life, should never be allowed to be forgotten.”

Wreaths were laid and an Act of Remembrance took place.

Tribute was paid to the duo by HRH The Prince of Wales, the Patron of the Battle of Britain Association, who sent over kind words in their memory.