AMHERST – 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.”