OTTAWA, Sept. 15, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today made a special presentation of the new Bomber Command Bar to Veterans as part of a larger ceremony marking the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Britain held at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. Veterans of Bomber Command and their families, including those representing deceased Veterans, were in attendance for the ceremony along with serving Royal Canadian Air Force personnel and members of the local community.
"Today, our Government is proud to honour the brave men who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force in Bomber Command by presenting them with the Bomber Command Bar," said Minister Fantino. "Canadians who served in Bomber Command did so at a very heavy cost; approximately 10,000 of them paid the ultimate price over the skies of Europe, in prisoners of war camps or in training accidents. Their dedication and sacrifices played a significant role in bringing victory to the Allies in the Second World War."
Canada played a vital role in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), a wide-reaching plan that was jointly undertaken by Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, whose graduates formed the backbone of Bomber Command. Many of the Canadians who trained under this program served with Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons in the No. 6 Bomber Group—the only non-British group to serve in Bomber Command. By the end of the Second World War, No. 6 Bomber Group had carried out more than 40,000 sorties and approximately 8,000 decorations for bravery were awarded to its members. The Government of Canada created this official honour to formally recognize these brave Canadians.
In addition to the creation of the Bomber Command Bar, the Government of Canada also helped in creating the new Bomber Command Memorial in London, United Kingdom. This memorial honours all members of the Bomber Command from Allied countries and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Today's presentation was held as part of a larger ceremony marking the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Seen as the first crucial air battle of the Second World War, the remarkable efforts of Allied airmen in the Battle of Britain prevented the Germans from completely sweeping the Allies from Western Europe. Canadians serving with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force valiantly helped in the defence of Britain and the values we continue to cherish and protect today.
For more information on Canada's role in Bomber Command and the Bomber Command Bar, to apply online for the honour or to download a hardcopy of the application form, visit veterans.gc.ca.
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to defend the Republic of Korea and uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law. For more information on Canada's role in the Korean War, visit veterans.gc.ca.
Image with caption: "Bomber Command Veteran Fraser Muir shows off a 70-year-old photo of his Second World War flight crew. Mr. Muir was presented the Bomber Command Bar by the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, during the Battle of Britain Ceremony in Ottawa Sunday. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130915_C7303_PHOTO_EN_30855.jpg
Image with caption: "Minister Fantino presents the Bomber Command Bar to Veteran Henry Fish. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130915_C7303_PHOTO_EN_30857.jpg
Image with caption: "The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today presented the new Bomber Command Bar to Ottawa-area Canadian Veterans at a special ceremony held at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Veterans of Bomber Command and their families were in attendance for the ceremony. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130915_C7303_PHOTO_EN_30859.jpg
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Media Relations Officer
Veterans Affairs Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs