Celebrations in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain were held all over the country on Sunday, Sept. 20. The national ceremony showcased a parade with Second World War veterans, current RCAF members and Air Cadets marching side-by-side.
The ceremony was highlighted by a fly-past of vintage and current RCAF aircrafts, including the Snowbird, to honour past and present Canadian heroes.
In attendance was the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.
The Team Lead for the CAF Snowbirds, Maj. Patrick Gobeil, shared the following thoughts on the RCAF Facebook page about his participation in the Battle of Britain ceremonies, “Our theme this season has been to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and is finally culminating with this historical flypast. It is a privilege to lead the Squadron over Parliament Hill to honour those brave few who gave their lives in the service of their country.”
“You will see the Snowbirds fly the ‘missing man’ formation. This is a longtime Air Force tradition that we use to honour those who passed away while in the service of their country. As the formation approaches, you will see an aircraft depart our formation as a salute to the brave men and women who served their country during the Battle of Britain.”
Capt. Denis “Cheech” Beaulieu, pilot for the CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team, also shared a message on the RCAF Facebook page reflecting on his participation in the ceremonies, “It has been a tremendous honour to be a part of the CF-18 Hornet Demonstration Team this summer. For the entire team, one of the most thrilling things about this season has been sharing the story and legacy of the Battle of Britain with Canadians, and all our audiences, everywhere we go.”
“For me personally, I couldn’t even imagine flying and fighting in those conditions. The bravery and courage of those aviators and ground crews was incredible. It doesn’t even compare to today, but it certainly is important to remember those who came and went before us, especially on days like today.”
Hailed by Sir Winston Churchill as Britain’s “finest hour,” the Battle of Britain was a turning point in the Second World War, giving hope to not only Britain but the entire allied forces. More than one hundred Canadians flew in this Battle.
The concluding engagement of the Battle of Britain took place on Sept. 15, 1940. Therefore, ceremonies are held on the Sunday following the 15th or the day itself when it falls on a Sunday.
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