OTTAWA, Sept. 16, 2018 /CNW/ - The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Britain:
"During the Battle of Britain, Canadian aviators serving with squadrons of Spitfire and Hurricane fighter planes repeatedly withstood the Luftwaffe, Germany's air force. Their continued efforts kept the enemy from gaining the air superiority it needed to launch an invasion of Britain – Operation Sea Lion.
"By mid-1940, the German occupation of Western Europe and the evacuation of Allied troops at Dunkirk were complete. Surrounded by many enemy warships, and under threat of the powerful Luftwaffe, the British were faced with the formidable task of repelling the German war machine.
"On August 26, 1940, the Royal Canadian Air Force No.1 Fighter Squadron became the first RCAF unit to engage enemy aircraft over southern England. On the ground, Canadian troops performed important coastal defence duties to counter a possible German invasion. . As well, during this critical time the Merchant Navy, and the Allied warships protecting those convoys, were essential to keeping Britain supplied with the materials it needed to continue fighting the war.
"The sacrifices and courage shown by Canadian and other Allied fliers during the Battle of Britain ensured the German invasion of the British Isles never happened and helped lead to the eventual liberation of Europe.
"The selflessness shown by so many Canadian service members in the defence of peace and freedom during the Second World War and into the present continues to impact the way we live today.
"Lest we forget."
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada