African prince to fly over White Cliffs beside Spitfire
14:26 10 October 2011
High Commissioner of Lesotho to attend launch of project to thank countries that supported Britain in WWII
An African prince will be flying over the White Cliffs of Dover alongside a World War Two Spitfire this weekend as Britain unveils plans to repay wartime debts.
His Excellency The High Commissioner of Lesotho in London, Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso, will be flying with Canterbury-based Action Stations! and visiting the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne on Saturday, October 15.
The visit has been arranged by the Spitfire Society to launch its Gifts-of-War project designed to say thank you to countries that supported Britain in its hour of need.
While many nations made gifts to help the country as it took on Nazi Germany, Basutoland (now Lesotho) did more than most in 1939 in comparison to its size and resources.
With a land area equal to Wales and a population of only 400,000, Basutoland had no natural resources and was one of the poorest nations in the Commonwealth, but stillmanaged to raise enough money to purchase a squadron of 24 Spitfires for the Royal Air Force.
As well as the Spitfires that made up No 72 (Basutoland) Squadron, the nation – landlocked inside what is now South Africa - provided two Hurricanes and several thousand troops to join the fight for freedom.
The Spitfire Society will be unveiling its project to honour Lesotho and other countries that contributed to the war effort when Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso arrives at Capel-le-Ferne after his Action Stations! helicopter flight alongside wartime Spitfire BM597 flown by Charlie Brown.
Spitfire Society chairman David Evans will introduce the Prince to Patrick Tootal, who is secretary of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, the charity that looks after the National Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne.