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The Sussexes

Birthday boy grounded: Prince Harry gives up seat to #BattleofBritain veteran and watches flypast from the ground

Back from Africa after spending time working to curb wildlife poaching, Prince Harry was planned to take the skies as part of the Battle of Britain Day Flypast.

A fine way for the royal pilot to celebrate his 31st birthday on Tuesday. Harry, who was sporting a beard, looked excited as he waited during the weather delay. Unfortunately, flying was not in the cards for Harry as his Spitfire was deemed unserviceable, and he had to view the display on the ground.

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After one of the four Spitfires had broken down, Harry, always the gentleman gave up his place up, so veteran pilot 95-year-old Tom Neil and two injured servicemen had the chance to take part in the commemorative event.

Joining Battle of Britain Hurricane and Spitfire Pilot, Tom Neil was Corporal Alan Robinson and Nathan Forster two wounded servicemen backed by the Spitfire Scholarship. The Scholarship was set up by the Boultbee Flight Academy in partnership with The Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund, which Prince Harry launched in 2014 at Goodwood in 2014.

After the weather delay had lifted, the largest display of the wartime aircraft since the Battle of Britain patrolled the skies over southern England. The Spitfires, Hurricanes, and Bristol Blenheim Bombers marked the 75th anniversary of the battle that altered the course of the Second World War.

The planes flew information from Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex paying tribute to the ‘gallant few,’ as Prime Minister Winston Churchill dubbed them.

The largest scale aerial battle known as The Battle of Britain took place on 15 September 1940. It was on this day 75 years ago the German Luftwaffe launched its biggest and most intense attack against London. The goal was to draw out the RAF into a battle, and Germany planned to attack and destroy them. Approximately 1,500 aircraft took part in the air battles that continued until dusk. The operation was the culmination of the Battle of Britain.

The 15th of September, now known as Battle of Britain Day, is an annual commemoration of the battle in the United Kingdom.

Prince Harry watched from the ground and took pictures as the planes took to the skies from the Goodwood Aerodrome.

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Earlier on Tuesday, The Earl of Wessex attended Battle of Britain service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

On Sunday, The Prince of Wales will be accompanied by The Duchess of Cornwall and attend the Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication at Westminster Abbey. Following the Service Charles and Camilla will join a reception with veterans and their families at Church House. Prince Charles is Patron of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.

Featured photo credit: Koennz via Flickr