Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

September 16, 2011 12:37 ET

71st Anniversary of the Battle of Britain: Historic Fly-Past of Second World War Vintage Aircraft and Canadian Forces Aircraft

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 16, 2011) - The Royal Canadian Air Force invites the public to attend a ceremony marking the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Britain on Sunday, September 18, 2011, from 10:15 a.m. to noon at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.

"For the first time in more than 40 years, we will celebrate the Battle of Britain with the restored name of the Royal Canadian Air Force," said the Honorable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "We should never forget this country's rich, proud history. These heroes of the Battle of Britain represent the very best of what it means to be Canadian. Their legacy is carried forward by our airmen and women who continue to put their lives on the line everyday to defend Canada. Whether through responding to emergencies here at home, such as the forest fire evacuations in Northern Ontario this summer, or through missions abroad, such as over the skies of Libya, that proud heritage continues to grow."

The Battle of Britain, the first major campaign to be conducted entirely in the air, took place in the skies over south eastern Britain and the English Channel from July to October 1940. Vastly outnumbered by the German Luftwaffe, allied pilots and aircrews, including more than 100 Canadian pilots, held the enemy at bay and prevented Hitler's planned invasion of Great Britain.

"The Battle of Britain was a defining moment in our history as air power played a major role in the Allied victory," said Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. "Our airmen and women draw strength from that past and perform their missions today with pride and professionalism. As we move forward and enter a new era for the Air Force, let us never forget those brave Canadians who risked their lives seventy-one years ago."

Weather permitting; this year's ceremony will feature fly-pasts by vintage Second World War aircraft and Canadian Forces aircraft. Second World War veterans will march alongside serving members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and Air Cadets, with musical accompaniment by the Central Band of the Canadian Forces, Air Command Pipes and Drums.

The ceremony and parking at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum are free. Limited seating is available.

More information about the Battle of Britain and Canada's contribution is available on www.airforce.gc.ca

Note to Editor / News Director:

Should weather conditions be uncertain the day of the ceremony, media can call 613-995-3111 for an update on the location (indoors/outdoors).

Media are asked to confirm attendance by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 17, 2011. Some parking is reserved for media – 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 on the Battle of Britain, please visit: www.airforce.gc.ca

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