Royal Canadian Air Force to mark 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Britain

News Release / September 12, 2013 / Project number: NR - 13.265

OTTAWA –The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) will mark the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Britain on Sunday, September 15, 2013. The national ceremony will be held at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. It will honour Canadians who fought with members of British and allied air forces at a critical moment in world history. Second World War veterans will parade alongside currently serving RCAF personnel and air cadets. Ceremonies will also be held at RCAF locations across the country.

On this occasion, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, will also present the Bomber Command Bar to 12 deserving veterans. It recognizes Canadian Bomber Command Veterans for their commitment and bravery in facing some of the most difficult odds of the Second World War.

 “I hope all Canadians will take the time to remember the veterans who fought in this very important battle,” said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence.  “The Battle of Britain helped define the RCAF and the Canadian Armed Forces, and established Canada as a strong partner in the fight for international peace and security, a reputation that it continues to live up to everyday.

 “The commitment and bravery of the Royal Canadian Air Force Veterans who served in the Second World War continues to inspire Canadians and serving personnel to this very day,” said Minister Fantino.  “I am honoured to pay tribute to their accomplishments, to recognize their service, and to join Canadians in remembering the sacrifices they have made in the name of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

 “Having had a father who flew Spitfires during WWII, I look back with immense pride at what our RCAF veterans were able to achieve during this battle, and am awed by the sacrifices they made,” said General Thomas Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff.

The Battle of Britain was a turning point in the war. Nazi Germany had overrun most of Europe, and the fall of the last European allied stronghold would have changed the course of the Second World War and world history. More than 400 Canadian aircrew and ground crew, including more than 100 pilots, fought with the Allies to defend England and deter a planned invasion.

 “It was the first battle to be fought solely in the air, and our Canadian pilots and airmen played a significant role,” declared Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin, Commander of the RCAF.  “Although they may not have realized it at the time, their heroic actions made them Canadian heroes and role models who our current RCAF and Canadian Armed Forces personnel strive to emulate still today.

Weather permitting, the event will feature a fly-past of vintage and current RCAF aircraft. The Central Band of the Canadian Forces, Air Command Pipes and Drums will also perform.

If weather conditions are uncertain, updates on the location of the ceremony (indoors or outdoors at the Museum) will be available by calling 613-996-5930.

There is no charge to attend this event and parking is available at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

For more information about the Battle of Britain and the 73rd commemorative ceremonies held in Ottawa and across the country, please visit the Royal Canadian Air Force web site.

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Note to the Editor / News Director:

Following the ceremony, the Commander of the RCAF will unveil the new RCAF badge inside the museum.

Media are asked to confirm attendance by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14, 2013. Some parking is reserved for media; media must follow the employee parking signs. Media with satellite trucks are requested to arrive at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum by 9:30 a.m. with all other media arriving by 10:00 a.m.

For more information or to confirm attendance, please contact:

Dominique Boily
Department of National Defence
Air Force Public Affairs

Christina Lucas
Canada Aviation and Space Museum
Communications and Marketing

Simon Forsyth
Media Relations Officer
Veterans Affairs Canada

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