Text and photo by Sgt Kev Parle 16 Wing
Last Sunday Sept 18th, 16 Wing hosted a Parade in Downtown Barrie, commemorating the famous Battle of Britain which took place 71 years ago in the skies over southern England and the English Channel.
Dignitaries including Member of Parliament for Barrie Mr. Patrick Brown, Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, as well as representatives from Veterans organizations were in attendance and laid wreaths at the Cenotaph.
The parade was made up of members from 16 Wing, 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, local Air Cadets, the Kempenfelt Pipes and Drums as well as the Base Borden Brass and Reed Band .
Participants, and spectators listened as the Reviewing Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Earle, the 16 Wing Commander, thanked the veterans present saying “your sacrifices have provided us with some great gifts; liberty, freedom and peace”. He also made note of the region’s “crucial role” in preparation and training for the Second World War. “More than 100 brave Canadian pilots, 35 of which were trained right here in Borden, put aside their fears and took to the skies to fight in the Battle.”.
LCol Earle also acknowledged the presence of HCol R.G.(Bob) Middlemiss, himself a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross for shooting down a total of four and a half aircraft, and who was shot down and rescued from the sea.
The Battle is commemorated each year on the Sunday closest to September 15th. That date coincides with what is known as the high water mark of the Battle of Britain. On Sept 15, 1940 Allied aircrews delivered such a punishment to the Luftwaffe that Hitler decided to postpone indefinitely the invasion of Great Britain. It is considered the first significant failure of the German forces in the Second World War.
LCol Earle ended by stating “We can never forget them”