Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 08, 2011 15:48 ET

Memorial to Canada's Air Force Unveiled in United Kingdom

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 8, 2011) - A monument commemorating the men and women of Canada's Air Force, past and present, was unveiled in the United Kingdom at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, today.

The monument is the first in the U.K. raised specifically to honour the Royal Canadian Air Force, especially its service during the Second World War, and Canada's modern Air Force. It was dedicated "In honour of those who serve past and present in Canadian and Commonwealth Air Elements".

"Canada's airmen and airwomen have made a significant contribution to the defence of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and to the mutual defence of all of our allies through our continued participation in NATO," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "I am enthusiastic that the service and sacrifice of Canadian air personnel is being recognized beyond Canadian borders."

Members of the Royal Air Force and Canada's Air Force, serving in both the U.K. and in Canada, led this historic project from concept to unveiling after Flight Lieutenant Alfie Hall, from 609 West Riding Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, visited the National Memorial Arboretum.

"A total of 21 Canadians served with 609," said Flight Lieut. Hall. "When I was down at Staffordshire, I asked where the Canadian memorial was and they said there wasn't one, which I thought was wrong. We developed a project team which came up with the design of a memorial and we've been fundraising ever since."

The memorial is made of Canadian granite from a quarry near Sturgeon Falls, Ont., donated by Lafarge Canada. 426 Transport Training Squadron, from 8 Wing Trenton, Ont., flew the granite to the U.K. on a CC-130 Hercules during a training flight

A monolith, created out of red and white granite to represent the Canadian flag, is the centrepiece of the monument. It is topped by a maple leaf and stands upon a granite maple leaf with a matching granite ring surrounding it; from above this will show Canada's modern Air Force roundel. The words of the iconic Air Force poem "High Flight", written by RCAF pilot Flight Lieut. John Gillespie Magee, Jr., are also inscribed on the monument.

"This is an extraordinary initiative," said Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, Canada's Chief of the Air Staff. "On behalf of Canadian airmen and airwomen, past and present, I thank the organizers who led the creation of this historic memorial as well as those people who donated to ensure it would become a reality.

"I am proud that such a beautiful memorial has joined the many others at the National Memorial Arboretum and that it will stand forever in commemoration of the service and sacrifice of our Air Force."

The National Memorial Arboretum, the U.K.'s year-round centre of remembrance, contains more than 160 military and civilian memorials, including the Armed Forces Memorial, which was dedicated in recognition and thanks to those who have given their lives in the service of the U.K. since the Second World War. Monuments to other military forces such as the Royal Australian Air Force and the Norwegian Navy are also on the grounds.

Note to Editors / News Directors:

For additional information, please visit:

The RCAF monument www.rcafmonument.ca

The National Memorial Arboretum www.thenma.org.uk

Or contact Mr. Tim Reid, Royal Air Force Leeming Engagement Officer, at +44 1677 457069 or leebsw-engagementofficer@LEEMING.raf.mod.uk

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