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Military Moments | Canadians in the Battle of Britain

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which took place from July to October 1940. Our new Military Moment and the next issue of Canada’s Ultimate Story explore the Canadians who took part in the furious air defence of Britain against the German Luftwaffe. As Winston Churchill later proclaimed “Never, in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Narrated by Canvet Publications’ Stephen J. Thorne, this Military Moment takes us back to July 10, 1940, when the Luftwaffe struck hard at Great Britain, attempting to soften the country for a land invasion. The Battle of Britain started with Luftwaffe raids on shipping in the English Channel, then on airfields and radar bases. In early September, the attacks shifted again, to London, Coventry and other major cities. More than 100 Canadians and one Newfoundlander served among the 2,900 pilots of the British air force who repulsed the attacks in dramatic air clashes. Meanwhile, the RAF had begun a strategic bombing campaign against German cities on May 11, 1940. From 1942 on, Allied air attacks became increasingly devastating, as new technology and more and better aircraft became available. Some 1,820 Canadians and 740 Newfoundlanders were assigned to Britain’s Royal Air Force at the outset of the Second World War.

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An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.