On 18 August 2020, the RAF Falcons swapped their freefalling for ‘free running’ a distance of 85 miles in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund’s Hardest Day Challenge – a fundraising initiative to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
The Hardest Day was an air battle fought on 18 August 1940 between the Luftwaffe and the RAF and the day that saw the largest number of casualties in a single day throughout the entire Battle of Britain.
Running across a multitude of terrains up and down the UK, each member of the RAF Falcons ran 7.1 miles each in a total combined time of under 14hrs. This accumulated in the total of 85 miles which is the distance between the Battle of Britain Monument in the Centre of London to the Battle of Britain Memorial located on the White Cliffs at Capel-le-Ferne, near Folkestone.
Flight Lieutenant Chris Wilce, Officer Commanding RAF Falcons said: “We owe a lot to ‘The Few’. By the Falcons completing this event, albeit only sacrificing a minuscule amount in comparison to the RAF aircrew on the 18th of August 1940, I hope we have helped to remember those brave people that fought on this day 80 years ago, so that their memory can live on.”
This year marks the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, a long three-month military campaign during the Second World War, in which the RAF defended the UK against the German Luftwaffe. ‘The Hardest Day’ was given to the air battle fought on 18 August 1940, this day was amongst the largest aerial engagements in history at that time, with both sides suffering heavy losses.
Charity is very important to the RAF Falcons and every year they find time during their busy schedule to raise money for select charities nominated by the team. The Team are also sponsored by a range of organisations, including The RAF Benevolent Fund, who are the RAF’s leading welfare charity which provide financial, practical and emotional support to serving and former members of the RAF regardless of rank as well as their partners and dependents.
Corporal Andrew Hodgson, Survival Equipment Technician said: “As an RAF Falcon it is an honour and a privilege to participate in this event and play a small role in remembering the 80th Anniversary of The Hardest Day. Brave RAF Aircrew from Fighter Command defending our Island give us what we have today. Forever in our hearts and never to be forgotten. To undertake this feat for the RAF Benevolent Fund to commemorate such an important anniversary, means even more to the Team”