15 Sep 2011

Battle of Britain memorial service held

5:47 pm on 15 September 2011

Bad weather forced a flyby by a Spitfire fighter plane to be called off at a 71st anniversary memorial service for the Battle of Britain in Wellington on Thursday.

One hundred and thirty New Zealanders and more than 100 Canadians fought in the Battle of Britain.

New Zealand was the second largest contributor of foreign fighter pilots to the battle.

Their service was honoured at the National War Memorial by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, along with the Minister for Veterans Affairs, members of the military, the Canadian Minister for National Defence, and other foreign representatives.

The dignitaries laid wreaths at the memorial and placed flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

The Canadian Minister, Peter MacKay, praised the defence relationship between Canada and New Zealand, saying Canada will remain grateful for New Zealand's contributions to defence.

Mr MacKay says he will meet with Defence Minister Wayne Mapp before visiting military installations in Auckland on Friday.