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Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Union Leader Sir Keir Starmer arrive at Westminster Abbey for the annual Sunday service marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain

  • Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer have arrived at Westminister Abbey on duty
  • Marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain
  • Johnosn will give a reading at the first major service since March
  • The Battle of Britain was a major aerial campaign that took place in the sky over Great Britain in 1940

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Union Leader Sir Keir Starmer have arrived at Westminster Abbey in London for the annual Sunday service marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Mr. Johnson will be delivering a reading at the venue's first major service since March, along with Chief Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston.

The Royal Air Force Marshal Lord Stirrup, representing the Prince of Wales, and the US Ambassador to Great Britain, Woody Johnson, are also present.

Worker leader Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer (right) have arrived at Westminster Abbey in London for the annual Sunday service on the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain

On the transepts of the church near the altar, chairs were set up for around 79 invited guests, all of whom wear masks.

Each chair is two meters apart to create social distance. The protective plastic grids separate the north and south transepts.

The annual Sunday service usually draws around 2,000 people to the London landmark as Britain commemorates the first battle in history, fought entirely in the air during World War II.

However, the event this Sunday will see a significant reduction in attendance and social distancing measures will be taken. With the vow of the abbey, the service is "reduced in stature, but not in spirit".

A spokesperson said, "The abbey is a very large church, typically seating 2,200, so guests can be easily separated from one another for social distancing purposes."

Woody Johnson, US Ambassador to Great Britain, arrives today for the Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication for the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey

Woody Johnson, US Ambassador to Great Britain, arrives today for the Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication for the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey

A member of the armed forces at a service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey on Sunday

A member of the armed forces at a service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey on Sunday

It is the first major service at Westminster Abbey since the Commonwealth Day service, held earlier this year on March 9, two weeks before Britain was put into lockdown in response to the pandemic.

The service at 11 a.m. under the direction of Dr. David Hoyle – the Dean of Westminster Abbey – includes an act of remembrance in which the Battle of Britain honor roll with the names of 1,497 pilots and aircrews who were killed or mortally wounded in the battle is made by the Church.

A procession of flags, readings, prayers and music follows – with a flight over Westminster Abbey is planned at the end of the service.

The Battle of Britain was a major aerial campaign that took place in the sky over Great Britain in 1940. Although the battle took place between July and October, the British Royal Air Force (RAF) achieved a decisive victory over the Luftwaffe on September 15, which was Nazi Germany's largest daylight attack.

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