More than 300,000 men were evacuated from the beaches at Dunkirk at the end of May 1940, and in June Britain was in a dire plight. The Germans had overrun Western Europe and France surrendered on June 22.
Two days earlier, Robert Lesley Edwards of Cobourg, Ont., arrived in Britain and joined No. 1 Squadron, RCAF, in early July. His war was to be a short one.
“The whole might of the enemy must soon be turned upon us,” warned Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The German air force, the Luftwaffe, was about to launch an attack designed to clear the air for a seaborne invasion.
Fewer than 3,000 airmen, 112 of them Canadian, including Edwards, stood between Britain and the Germany of Adolf Hitler during the Battle of Britain.
Edwards was at the controls during the squadron’s seco...