TRIBUTES were paid once more to those who gave their lives and served in World War Two at the New Forest's airfields.

The annual service was held at the airfields memorial at the Holmsley South site on Sunday.

The ceremony honours all those who worked on the twelve New Forest military airfields, both the military personnel and the civilians who supported them and maintained food supplies and essential services to the bases.

The service was conducted by Padre Charles Lewis and attended by representatives of the Allied countries and organisations, whose airmen and women were based at the airfields in the conflict.

The memorial is maintained by the Friends of the New Forest Airfields Association which has a heritage centre in Bransgore on the site of the former Sopley Camp.

Among the military representatives were Sqn Ldr Cameron Robottom of the Royal Australian Air Force; Col James Hawthorne, Royal Canadian Air Force; Sqn Ldr Lorraine Hawthorn, Royal Air Force and Major Adam Thomson, United States Air Force.

It was a particularly poignant event, coinciding with the end of Britain's 20-year operation in Afghanistan.

The service included the Kohima Epitaph, The Last Post, one minute silence, Reveille and the laying of wreaths.

Around 30,000 service personnel from many countries served at and flew from the network of New Forest airfields, supported by 10,000 civilians.

Padre Lewis reminded the assembled guests that the multinational effort that sprang from the 12 airfields helped "turn the tide against the scourge of Nazi Germany."

He read the poem High Flight, by Anglo American pilot John Gillespie Magee, who wrote that he had 'put out my hand and touched the face of God.'

The aviator was killed in a mid air collision over Lincolnshire in 1941.

The RCAF's Colonel Hawthorne told the Echo: "It's really important to keep our ties with the British Commonwealth and recognise the sacrifices that were made through two World Wars and that we continue to make today in our operations all over the world.

"This is poignant every day and we need to recognise those who have lost their lives. This is about all the time not just the past."

Squadron Leader Hawthorn of the RAF said: "Today is not just about sacrifices made here and from here, but all sacrifices in the past and in current conflicts."

She added that the efforts of the RAF and all military personnel in Afghanistan had been "absolutely incredible."

The airfields were located Holmsley, Hurn, Christchurch, Beaulieu, Calshot, Stoney Cross, Needs Oar Point, Sway, Winkton, Ibsley and Lymington.