The Poppy Appeal is officially underway in the city with a replica Spitfire going on display at Liverpool One to mark the 70-year anniversary of the Battle of Britain.


The Spitfire fighter aircraft, orginally designed by R. Mitchell, acted as a symbol of the British spirit of resistance against all odds during World War II.


James Ross, an organiser on the launch day, said: "Without the Spitfire we would have lost the battle."


The event, which was opened by Liverpool Lord Mayor Hazel Williams, attracted crowds of people, including World War II veterans who fought in the RAF against the German air force Luftwaffe.  


The Battle of Britain, so called because of a speech made by

war time Prime Minster Winston Churchill, was decided in

in the skies over Britain in the summer and autumn of 1940.


World War II lasted from 1939-1945 and the upcoming

Remembrance Sunday will pay tribute to those who lost their

lives fighting for our country to defeat Hitler’s regime, as the

UK's fallen heroes from all other conflicts are also remembered

across the country this weekend.


In the United Kingdom, Remembrance Sunday is always the

second Sunday of November, which is the closest to 11th November. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month signifies the signing of the Armistice on 11th November 1918, which brought World War I to an end.


This is a time to honour the brave servicemen and women that have fought to defend Britain. A two-minute silence will be observed across the UK on Thursday 11th November, to pay respect to all the lives that were claimed in battles involving British forces. Remembrance Sunday follows on 14th November.


Poppies will be sold around the city to raise money for the UK forces fighting in Afghanistan.


Walter Stockley was just one of the veterans parading his medals at the Spitfire display event. After arriving with the troops on Gold beach in Normandy in the D-Day landings of 1944, a host of unforgettable experiences and memories would follow... thoughts and visions he still has clearly to this day.


Great Grandfather Wally, as he is affectionately known, was an ordinary young man who became a hero, and he kindly told JMU Journalism some of his many precious and fascinating accounts he has from his time serving Britain in World War II.


Despite the horrors he must have witnessed, one of Walter's most vivid recollections is a far cry from the battlefields of Europe.


The 85-year-old from Liverpool talked about how he and his fellow soldiers found a little white dog that they picked up and adopted as their own, making it their mascot.  The dog, named Swia by the men, shared the troop’s rations and stayed with Wally and the rest of his unit until one day in June 1945.


During a ten-minute break from travelling to Berlin to take part in the victory parade, the troops let out Swia to have a roam around, but he disappeared into the wilderness.


"We called him Swia because I think that's the Arabic word for small, or little. I still think about whatever happened to Swia," said Wally, as he reminisced fondly.  




Liverpool prepares to remember War heroes

By Helen Dodd

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Walter Stockley reflects after placing his cross; Lord Mayor Hazel Williams at the Poppy Appeal launch


Pic © Trinity Mirror

Pic © Trinity Mirror