SIXTY years on from the end of the Second World War, veterans and serving officers joined civic leaders on Sunday for a memorial service to commemorate the vital role played by the airfields of the New Forest.

Representatives from the units who served on the area's 12 air bases both during and after the war were among those attending the ceremony at the New Forest Airfields Memorial at Holmsley South.

Personnel at the airfields played a key role in every aspect of air warfare, from flying missions to ferrying secret agents into Europe.

Thousands of prisoners of war and servicemen and women were brought home through the bases after the war ended.

Canadian, American and Polish military representatives also attended the service, which had the theme The New Forest Airfields at Peace, together with Christchurch mayor Cllr Josephine Spencer, Christchurch MP Christopher Chope and Cllr David Scott, deputy leader of New Forest District Council.

First published: August 23