Battle of Britain Commemoration - Belfast, 1957



Belfast, St. Anne's Cathedral




Production 15/09/1957


02min 06sec





black and white


Robert Kane


Robert Kane

Rights Holder

Robert Kane

It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


By Summer 1940, Nazi Germany had gained control of most of Western Europe. In June, the Luftwaffe began bombing raids on Britain with the aim of subjugating and compelling Britain to agree to a peace settlement, neutralise the RAF and leave the country wide open to an invasion. The ensuing battle became a crucial theatre of conflict in the Second World War, and an enduring national memory in British culture. From July to October 1940, the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm (FAA) defended and repulsed large-scale attacks from the Luftwaffe. Nazi Germany failed in their objectives and marked their first major defeat in the War. 

This short film shot by Samuel Bracegirdle shows the preparations for a commemoration service for the Battle of Britain in Belfast’s St. Anne’s Cathedral on 15th September 1957. Many men and women from Northern Ireland served in the RAF during the war and many services were held across the country that day. In Belfast, 600 participants took part in the service, including members of the armed services, auxiliary services, cadets, civil defence organisations, ex-servicemen’s associations, and American navymen. The cold, showery weather didn’t deter thousands of Belfast’s people from witnessing the parade and march-past at the City Hall, where Lord Glentoran, the Minister of Commerce, took the salute. The service featured the RAF Regional Band No. 5, Northern Ireland Air Training Corps, and the Oldpark Silver Band. Key military and civic leaders, including the Lord Mayor of Belfast and American Navy officers, were in attendance. The sermon by Rev. B.E. Knight emphasized the continued presence of evil in the world and the ongoing need for vigilance and moral clarity. The event underscored the enduring significance of the Battle of Britain and its lessons for contemporary challenges.


Samuel Bracegirdle was an amateur filmmaker from Belfast, his work dates from the 1950s to the 1970s. Many of his films show his home life and holidays with family and friends. He also took an interest in local history and Unionist heritage. 

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