Tributes have been paid to the men and women of Barnet serving in the Armed Forces with a stark reminder of others defending their homeland in a brutal war with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Up to half-a-million casualties on both sides, soldiers and civilians, are estimated to have resulted so far since Putin’s war began in February last year.

But Barnet's Armed Forces Day parade this year also commemorates those serving in British forces at home and abroad — and those who have perished in past conflicts like the Second World War when Hendon Aerodrome was used as an RAF base during the Battle of Britain. The RAF Museum now stands where the airbase once was, now part of the huge Grahame Park neighbourhood development.

The annual ceremony was one of many up and down the country recognising those serving and those who have served in the Armed Forces.

Among those present was D-Day Normandy veteran Mervyn Kersh, 98, who was in the parade organised by Barnet Council.

He survived six years at war in the Army from 1939 to 45 and got through it all, awarded no fewer than eight medals in campaigns liberating Occupied Europe from the Nazis. His medals include the French Legion d’Honour, Dutch Liberation and Operation Overlord marking the D-Day landings.

“We gather together in safety — but our brothers and sisters in Ukraine are suffering unspeakable harm,” RAF Museum chief executive Maggie Appleton said. “Let our thoughts be with them and to all who are suffering the outcomes of conflict.

“We are sharing the stories of the Royal Air Force as a national museum with a local heart and international reach.”

A parade and flag-raising ceremony was staged at the Hendon Aerodrome museum paying tribute to veterans and those serving their country in the Armed Forces and Cadets services.

The North London Military Wives choir and an RAF military band performed the music for the parade which was followed by a reception under a preserved Second World War Lancaster bomber at the museum.

Barnet’s Mayor Nagus Narenthira said: “Barnet is closely connected to the Armed Forces. This day is an opportunity to recognise our servicemen and women, past and present, for their bravery and dedication.”

Awards were given by Barnet's Deputy Lieutenant Martin Russell, the King’s representative in the borough, to members of the Sea Cadet Corps, Combined Cadet Force, Army Cadet Force and RAF Air Cadets for outstanding service.