Battle of Britain

The Battle of Britain was recognized almost immediately as a significant event. Waged from July to October 1940, it pitted a small group of fighter pilots from around the world against a far larger Luftwaffe. Their victory gave hope to the people of Great Britain and to other freedom-loving nations. History

Battle of Britain London Monument

Battle of Britain London Monument

Battle of Britain 79th Anniversary

Sunday, September 15, 2019
at 10:00 a.m.
Canada Aviation and Space Museum
11 Aviation Pkwy, Ottawa, ON

Vintage aircraft fly by weather permitting

Ceremonies across Canada

Related links

Battle of Britain: Did you know?

In late August, Allied forces began dropping bombs on Berlin in retaliation for an accidental Luftwaffe bombing of London. A furious Hitler ordered massive bombing attacks on British cities, and the Blitz began on September 7. But as bombs rained down on London, the shift in targets turned Luftwaffe attention from airfields and ground elements of the air defence system. More importantly, the change allowed Fighter Command to have more warning of Luftwaffe attacks and to be better prepared.

Battle of Britain Webpage

News and articles

Pilot Officer William McKnight (left), Squadron Leader Douglas Bader (centre) and Flight Lieutenant Eric Bal.

Battle of Britain profile of courage: Pilot Officer William Lidstone McKnight

Canada’s highest scoring ace of the Battle of Britain was Pilot Officer William Lidstone McKnight, DFC and Bar, who was born in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1918.
September 14, 2015

A group of pilots of No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron walk towards the camera from a Hawker Hurricane after returning from a fighter sortie on October 24, 1940.

Battle of Britain profile of courage: John Alexander Kent and the RAF’s Polish fighter pilots

In 1940, John Alexander Kent, a Canadian, was posted to RAF Northolt as a flight commander with the Royal Air Force’s newly-formed No. 303 Polish Squadron.
September 14, 2015

Flight Lieutenant Forgrave Marshall “Hiram” Smith at an RAF Station in an undated photograph.

Battle of Britain profile of courage: Flight Lieutenant Forgrave Marshall 'Hiram' Smith

In April 1939, No. 72 (Fighter) Squadron at RAF Church Fenton, North Yorkshire, received the new Supermarine Spitfire aircraft, and Pilot Officer Forgrave Marshall "Hiram" Smith was one of the first Canadians to fly this potent fighter.
September 11, 2015

Squadron Leader Paul Brooks Pitcher, from Montreal, Quebec, a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot and veteran of the Battle of Britain, is photographed on November 5, 1941, on a break from commanding a Canadian fighter squadron in England.

Battle of Britain profile of courage: Flying Officer Paul Brooks Pitcher

Royal Canadian Air Force Flying Officer Paul Brooks Pitcher survived the Battle of Britain and went on to command 401, 411 and 417 Squadrons, ultimately retiring in 1944 as a wing commander.
September 1, 2015

In a 1935 photograph taken at 3 Flying Training School, RAF Grantham in Lincolnshire, England, newly enrolled Royal Air Force airman Kirkpatrick MacLure Sclanders stands for posterity.

Battle of Britain profile of courage: Pilot Officer Kirkpatrick MacLure Sclanders

New Brunswicker Pilot Officer Kirkpatrick MacLure Sclanders joined the Royal Air Force, became ill, was released, and rejoined to serve in the Battle of Britain as a Hurricane pilot with 242 (Canadian) Squadron.
August 28, 2015

Flying Officer James Arthur Walker in uniform in an undated photograph.

Battle of Britain profile of courage: Squadron Leader James Arthur “Johnnie” Walker

During the Battle of Britain, Flying Officer James Arthur Walker received the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation reads, in part, that he “…has displayed magnificent courage in the face of superior numbers of enemy aircraft.”
August 26, 2015

Pilot Officer George Corbett relaxes in uniform in this undated photograph.

Battle of Britain profile of courage: Pilot Officer George Henry Corbett

Eighteen-year-old George Corbett joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve while attending school in England. At 20, Pilot Officer Corbett was engaging the Luftwaffe over England.
August 19, 2015

Pilot Officer John Blandford Latta.

Battle of Britain profile of courage: Pilot Officer John Blandford Latta

John Blandford Latta was a salmon fisherman on the West Coast of Canada, complete with his own trawler, when he decided to take a crack at becoming a flyer in the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1939.
August 12, 2015

Fight Lieutenant Jean-Paul Desloges waves from his aircraft on January 22, 1941.

Battle of Britain profile of courage: Wing Commander Jean-Paul Joseph Desloges

Although Wing Commander Jean-Paul Joseph Desloges, born in Gatineau, Québec, survived the Battle of Britain, he died on May 8, 1944, in a plane crash in Morocco, one year to the day before the war ended in Europe.
August 4, 2015

A Spitfire at rest on May 22, 1943, in an unknown location. “The Spitfire was difficult to taxi,” Flying Officer Young said, “for the long nose rose at a sharp angle when on the ground, and one had to weave from side to side to ensure that all was clear ahead.”

Battle of Britain profile of courage: Flying Officer J. Stewart “Stew” Young

For Young, the Battle of Britain was a period of seemingly endless patrols interspersed with the occasional chase of an enemy aircraft as his squadron protected vital shipping, and Falmouth and Plymouth harbours.
July 27, 2015

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