Replica WWI fighters on display this weekend at The Spirit of Flight Aviation Museum
Londoners have their chance to see two replica First World War fighter planes this weekend at the The Spirit of Flight Aviation Museum.
The planes swooped down at the London International Airport on Friday, and are part of a national tour called Vimy Flight. The tour commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Canada’s 150th birthday.
“Vimy Ridge is considered to be the birth of our nation, so having these planes here, which played a big part in that battle, helps share that valuable experience with Londoners,” said Dave Wilson, the pilot of the aircraft.
He explains to AM980 the importance of the planes during the war, and their uses.
“These airplanes were scouts, used for the protection of reconnaissance planes, and were also used to shoot down enemy balloons. They might not look tough, but they were very aggressive, and used to make sure the people on the ground could do their jobs correctly.”
Wilson adds that he felt extremely proud when flying over Vimy Ridge, and was very humbled to be contributing to the remembrance of such an important event in Canadian history.
While the planes are on display all weekend, Saturday is the main day for the public to attend. In addition to viewing the planes and speaking with the pilots, attendees could listen to author Ted Barris discuss his new book Victory at Vimy: Canada Comes of Age, which presents new information on the Canadians’ contribution in WWI. The Hamilton Signals Association were also in attendance, teaching event goers about various tools used during the war to communicate with other troops in the trenches.
Ken Lloyd of the association explains to AM980 the importance of messaging in WWI, and how planes were crucial for it.
“The important part of the air force in World War One, especially at Vimy Ridge, was that it was the eyes and ears of the army. Without them, no communication could have been done, and many battles would have been lost.”
Lloyd explains the various uses of messaging tools in the video below.
Lloyd attended the 100th celebration of Vimy Ridge, and explains what it was like.
“We were at the main day celebrations sitting with the cadets, and I really recognized how important this day was when I looked over at French cadets dressed as Canadians and British Tommys. I was amazed to find out they were French men dressed like that, it really spoke volumes about the importance of this battle.”
Many dignitaries from all over London were in attendance, including Councillor Phil Squire and M.P. of London West, Kate Young. Both took turns explaining the importance of Vimy Ridge for Canadians and expressed a deep sense of pride that Londoners have of that special achievement.
To honour the fallen veterans and the battle of Vimy Ridge, all special guests took part in tree planting of two oak trees from Vimy Ridge.
The Royal Canadian Airforce association is encouraging all Londoners to check out the planes. Admission and parking is free, while food and beverage will be at a cost. If you would like to find out more information, you can visit 427wing.com.
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