On May 7th, the Military History Park, in cooperation with the British Embassy in the Republic of Slovenia, organized a memorial ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the crash of the Spitfire MH980 aircraft near the village of Suhorje in the Brkini region and the death of the aircraft’s pilot, Sergeant Edmund Ramsbotham of the 249th Squadron of the British Royal Air Force. The ceremony honored one of the most famous fighter units of the Royal Air Force, established in August 1918, but achieving its glory in World War II – first in the Battle of Britain and then over Malta, Sicily, Italy, Albania, the Balkans, and finally over Slovenian territory at the end of the war. Sergeant Ramsbotham was the last victim of this famous unit in World War II.
The Minister of Defense of the Republic of Slovenia attended the ceremony, Mr. Marjan Šarec, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Slovenia, Her Excellency Tiffany Sadler, who laid wreaths at the monument to the fallen pilot, and former British Ambassador to Slovenia, Mr. David Lloyd.
The director of the Military History Park, Mr. Janko Boštjančič, highlighted in his welcome speech that the monument, erected by the Park two years ago, was inscribed with the words “Young Sergeant Ramsbotham died for a free Europe.” He emphasized that they did not realize that this inscription would acquire special meaning and significance a year later with the outbreak of war in Ukraine. The monument has become a symbol of European values and the struggle to defend them.
The Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Slovenia, Her Excellency Tiffany Sadler, also stressed the monument’s symbolic role in her speech. The memorial at the site where a young life was extinguished during the war represents a monument to the Slovenian-British alliance in the joint fight for freedom, for which young and innocent people are still dying on the other side of Europe almost 80 years after the end of World War II.
The symbolic role of the monument was emphasized in the ceremonial address by the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Republic of Slovenia, Her Excellency Tiffany Sadler. According to her words, the memorial plaque at the site where a young life was extinguished during the war also represents a monument to the Slovenian-British alliance in the joint struggle for freedom. For today, almost 80 years after the end of World War II, young and innocent people are again dying on the other side of Europe. The Ambassador sincerely thanked the Military History Park and the villagers of Suhorje for their dignified commemoration of the tragic death of the pilot and their selfless care to ensure that the memory of his sacrifice will not be forgotten.
The Minister of Defense of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Marjan Šarec, also praised the monument’s installation and expressed his gratitude to the Military History Park and the local community of Suhorje. As he emphasized, the commemorative ceremony on the anniversary of the plane crash and the tragic death of the young corporal also remembers all the other young heroes from our history who gave the most they could – their lives – so that we can live in peace.
The ceremony featured the brass quintet of the Slovenian Armed Forces Orchestra and the brass quintet of the British military orchestra “Royal Yeomanry,” who also performed a short cultural program after the event.