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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attend a service at Westminster Abbey to mark the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Britain

17th September 2017

: The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall with Battle of Britain veterans

: The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall with Battle of Britain veterans

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall joined war veterans at Westminster Abbey today for a moving service to mark the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Survivors of the Battle of Britain were applauded by the congregation as they left the abbey and Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum admitted he had to "fight for self-control" during the emotional service.

The 96-year-old, who lives in Cornwall, said: "It gets more emotional for me each year.

"I'm not normally an emotional chap but escorting the Roll of Honour with that slow march with a slow drum beat ... I have to fight for self-control a bit."

The Prince of Wales talks to Battle of Britain veteran Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum

The Prince of Wales talks to Battle of Britain veteran Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum

Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn were among more than 2,000 people who gathered to remember the sacrifice of those involved in the 1940 air campaign.

The veterans are among those who fought in the Battle of Britain between July 10 and October 31 1940 and earned the nickname, The Few, taken from Winston Churchill's celebrated line: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

The Prince of Wales, Patron of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association and Marshal of the Royal Air Force (RAF), and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a reception at Church House near Westminster Abbey following the service.

Their Royal Highnesses watched a Hurricane and Spitfire flypast from the balcony with four Battle of Britain veterans, before exchanging jokes and stories as the group had tea.

Wing Commander Tom Neil, 97, from Norfolk, said he had been introduced to the Prime Minister, who had called him a "hero".

He said afterwards: "I'm not a hero, I'm just a survivor."

Their Royal Highnesses also spent time chatting to Wing Commanders Paul Farnes and Tim Elkington.