4 Wing marks Battle of Britain Day

Battle of Britain Memorial
4 Wing Band and Royal Canadian Air Force members took part in the 79th anniversary ceremonies to mark Battle of Britain Day at the Cold Lake Cenotaph. Photo: Cliff Kenyon

79th anniversary celebrated

Cliff Kenyon

It was a solemn ceremony as hundreds gathered Sept. 15 to mark Battle of Britain Day at the Cold Lake Cenotaph. But it was also a celebration.

September 15 marks the day of the biggest fight and biggest victory in 1940 by Allied fighter aircraft, including members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, against attacking German enemies.

Acting Wing Commander LCol Kirsten Dubreuil said that because of that victory and others we now enjoy “a legacy of peace.”

She said the September 15, 1940, battle was a milestone for the Royal Canadian Air Force, the first time for a Canadian expeditionary force to be in a coalition environment and it was a clear victory at a time when the invasion of the United Kingdom was feared.

The pilots were “The Few” that Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred being owed so much by so many.

About 160 Canadians took part in the battle that day. Twenty three were killed.

Dubreuil said news media of the day hailed members of RCAF Squadron #1 as heroes during Britain’s “finest hour.”

On Sunday in Cold Lake, wreaths were laid at the Cenotaph in remembrance by military and local civic leaders.

Dubreuil said CF-18 Hornets flown at 4 Wing Cold Lake are today’s version of the Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires used in combat during the Second World War. Cold Lake ceremonies included a flypast by a 4 Wing fighter aircraft.

“If a similar battle was waged today it would be the CF-18s,” she said.
The victory, she said, is an example of the Canadian “can-do attitude.”

“We can all be sure the RCAF will stand ready to deliver air power.

“Because of those who went before us, the RCAF has an international reputation.”

She said Sunday’s celebration is a time to remember those who died to protect the values that are still important to us today.

4 Wing Cold Lake’s Chaplain LCdr Zbigniew Jonczyk led his remarks by saying today’s CAF members “carry the traditions of those who served before us.”

“They didn’t fly for their own glory but for others,” he said to protect values we all share today.

“We too now play a part in air defence.”

Battle of Britain Memorial
Acting Wing Commander LCol Kirsten Dubreuil led Battle of Britain ceremonies at Cold Lake Cenotaph. Photo: Cliff Kenyon
Battle of Britain Memorial
Honour guards stood at Cold Lake Cenotaph during ceremonies. Photo: Cliff Kenyon