One of the key battles in stopping Nazi Germany taking over Europe was fought 75 years ago in the skies above Britain - the Battle of Britain.

Later this month, the efforts of those airmen who halted the Nazi advance in World War II and forced Adolf Hitler to abandon his plans to invade Britain will be honoured with a special ceremony in Whangarei.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force Association has organised a street parade and memorial ceremony on September 20 to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The association's Northland cadet liaison officer, David Reid, said there had not been a big parade in years in Northland to commemorate the battle.


"A parade will be held and performed by the three Air Training Corps cadet units in the Northland district.

"It will start at 11.30am from Lower Cameron St and proceed to Laurie Hall Park War Memorial Cenotaph, under police escort, where the ceremony will be held." Mr Reid said.

"The Battle of Britain was the prime catalyst for the formation of Air Training Corps in the UK, with New Zealand following in 1941.

"This is why all three cadet units have been invited to commemorate with a street parade and ceremony at the Cenotaph by the Royal New Zealand Air Force Association of Northland."

New Zealand Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park was the Royal Air Force Commander during the Battle of Britain and the man responsible for the overall strategy that gave the Allies victory over the German Luftwaffe during summer and autumn of 1940.

The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces and was also the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date.

A prime objective of the Germans was to achieve air superiority over the Royal Air Force.

Beginning in July 1940, coastal shipping convoys and shipping centres were the main targets, but a month later the Luftwaffe shifted attacks to RAF airfields and factories involved in aircraft production.

By preventing Germany from gaining air superiority, the British forced Hitler to cancel Operation Sea Lion, a planned invasion of Britain.

The failure of Nazi Germany to destroy Britain's air defences is considered by historians to be its first major defeat in World War II and a crucial turning point in the conflict.