Bat­tle of Bri­tain cer­e­mony at RCAF wing on Sun­day

Cer­e­mony be­gins at 12:30 p.m.

The Amherst News - - COVER STORY -

The Royal Cana­dian Air Force As­so­ci­a­tion’s 105 (Cum­ber­land) Wing is hold­ing its Bat­tle of Bri­tain re­mem­brance cer­e­mony on Sun­day at the wing head­quar­ters on Have­lock Street.

The event be­gins at 12:30 p.m. and will in­clude the lay­ing of wreaths in mem­ory of those who died dur­ing the bat­tle that took place be­tween July 10 and Oct. 31, 1940.

In June of 1940, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and his ad­vis­ers de­cided to pro­ceed with plans for the in­va­sion of Great Bri­tain. A mas­sive op­er­a­tion named Sea Lion was to con­vey a large army across the English Chan­nel. The Ger­mans be­lieved that the first es­sen­tial of this op­er­a­tion was the de­struc­tion of the Bri­tish air de­fense sys­tem.

The air at­tack be­gan in Au­gust with the at­tempted de­struc­tion of radar sta­tions but this was only partly suc­cess­ful. The Ger­mans be­gan mas­sive day­light at­tacks against south­ern and east­ern Eng­land.

The key to suc­cess for the Luft­waffe was the de­struc­tion of the RAFs fighter force. As the bat­tle de­vel­oped, the Luft­waffe moved to tar­gets fur­ther and fur­ther in­land and fi­nally to Lon­don.

The de­ci­sive turn­ing point came in Septem­ber when the Luft­waffe switched its at­ten­tion to the cap­i­tal. This tac­ti­cal blun­der al­lowed Fighter Com­mand to re­cover its strength and in­flect losses sig­nif­i­cant enough to show the Ger­mans the bat­tle could not be won. The Ger­man losses be­came so large it be­came clear to them that they had made lit­tle head­way and “Sea Lion” was post­poned.

The Royal Air Force won its vic­tory by su­pe­rior con­trol and tac­tics and by the supreme and des­per­ate ef­forts of the pi­lots and their sup­port or­ga­ni­za­tions. The bat­tle may have saved Great Bri­tain from con­quest and so changed the course of World War II.

In the words of Win­ston Churchill, “Never in the field of hu­man con­flict, was so much owed by so many to so few.”

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