Statement Article from
Ministers Sajjan and Hehr mark the 76th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain
September 16, 2016 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence and the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence today issued the following statement marking the 76th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain:
“This weekend, we celebrate the Canadian airmen who fought alongside our Allies in the Battle of Britain.
“Seventy-six years ago, Hitler was determined to invade Great Britain. The German Luftwaffe, which possessed seasoned combat pilots and twice as many aircraft as the Allies, set its sights on Britain’s ports, airfields, radar stations and cities to destroy the nation’s defences and gain control of the English Channel and landing zones on British soil.
“The spectre of defeat was real, but Canada contributed a courageous asset to the fight — more than a hundred pilots and an estimated 300 or more ground crew. Twenty-three pilots perished in the battle and 35 more died later in the war.
“This battle was critical. It influenced the outcome of the Second World War and, in turn, the course of history. Repelling the Nazis was a task of Herculean proportions, but alongside our Allies, the Royal Canadian Air Force was up to the job. Exposed to perilous missions under enemy fire, pilots faced a formidable foe. Assisting them in this essential task were the tireless efforts of ground crew, radar operators, anti-aircraft gunners, and the men and women who worked on the aircraft supply chain. Without them, the Battle of Britain could not have been won.
“The Royal Canadian Air Force’s number one asset was, is, and always will be its people. Today, we honour those who were willing to give everything in the summer and fall of 1940. We also recognize the sacrifices and dedication of surviving Battle of Britain veterans, like Squadron Leader (ret’d) John Stewart Hart, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday. All of us owe them a debt of gratitude.
“Each year, on the third Sunday in September, we pause to remember the sacrifices made by those who served during the Battle of Britain — sacrifices from which we benefit every day of the year.”
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
Director of Communications and Issues Management
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Affairs Canada
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Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces Military
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