The Royal Canadian Air Force base in Shearwater hosted an annual ceremony commemorating the Canadians who fought and perished in a battle often referred to as the “turning point” of the Second World War.
“The 79th anniversary of an event that was marked as being the largest air campaign at the time, turned out to be a huge shift in World War II and we are honoured to be able to host it here today in Shearwater,” said Lt.-Col. William Reyno, the commanding officer of the 12 Operations Support Squadron in Shearwater.
Dozens of military personnel stood shoulder to shoulder with cadets.
The steady drizzle of rain didn’t dampen the spirits of those who gathered to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by Royal Canadian Air Force members seven decades ago.
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“The U.K. was supported by the Commonwealth, by Canada in particular, and as we saw the sacrifice that those Canadians, those brave Canadians made — nearly a quarter of them dying, those who came across to volunteer to fight,” said Cmdr. Edward Phillips, with the Royal Navy.
12 Wing Shearwater is one of Canada’s oldest airfields and during the Battle of Britain in 1940, members of the squadron played an active role in defending the United Kingdom from an invasion by Nazi Germany.
“By securing the United Kingdom in 1940, it enabled the build-up of forces that ultimately led to the D-Day invasion in 1944 and the subsequent victory in the Second World War for the allied cause,” Phillips said.
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“There are so many families across our countries for whom that sacrifice was made in the past, not that long ago,” he added.
More than 100 Canadians fought in the Battle of Britain.
Twenty-three of those were killed in the process of successfully defending England from an invasion by Nazi Germany’s air force.