The 77th anniversary of the Battle of Britain was observed Sunday at the Stellarton War Memorial.
More than 50 townspeople were in attendance, as were great numbers of the Stellarton Fire Department, the 374 Air Cadets, RCMP and police service as well as the Royal Canadian Legion.
Prayers were offered by Rev. Aiden Kingsbury and benediction from Rev. Charles McPherson, while music was provided by the Pictou County Brass & Reed Band.
Remarks were offered by 2nd Lieut. Kenneth MacDonald of the Army Reserve NS Highlanders who is also with New Glasgow Regional Police Service. He outlined not only the Battle of Britain’s place in history but also the repercussions of the battle.
“The Battle of Britain became one of the significant turning points of World War II,” MacDonald said. “The battle ended as the German air force failed to gain air superiority over the Allied Forces. The Allied Forces were out-numbered, and outgunned. The loses were enormous. The battle saved the country from invasion and a possible occupation by Nazi Germany.”
MacDonald said that with 2017 marking 150 years for Canada as a country, and in light of 77 years since the Battle of Britain, the time was ripe to note the importance of the role played by the RCAF.
“First, the Battle of Britain represented the first commitment of the Royal Canadian Air Force into combat in the Second World War,” MacDonald explained. “Second, 100 Canadians flew and supported flying operations in the Battle of Britain. Third, it was the first time in history that the RCAF under its own assets and markings participated in combat missions. And fourth, Canada’s contribution was prominent in the British standard training plan that proved trained air crew and support personnel in the Britain and the continued war effort.”
MacDonald said the battle fought should serve as a point of reflection for militarily personnel and civilians alike today.
“For our veterans, the Battle of Britain becomes a time to remember fallen RCAF members and Allied members and friendships that were created on the front lines. It also becomes a time to relive those memories of good and bad times not to forget,” MacDonald said. “And for our youth, it is their legacy to keep history alive, and remember all RCAF members that died for our fight for freedom and safety.”
2nd Lieut. Kenneth MacDonald