CF-18 Demonstration Team

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If you have any questions about the CF-18 Demonstration Team or require information about having Canadian Armed Forces aircraft participate in your community's air show or special event, please visit the Event Booking page, or contact:

1 Canadian Air Division Special Events
Ph: (204) 833-2500 ext. 5228

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1 Canadian Air Division Public Affairs
1 Canadian Air Division Public Affairs

The CF-18 Demonstration Team will return to the North American 2015 air show season with a brand new theme commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which was a turning point in the Second World War and the first conflict in history to be won by air power alone.

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2015 Season Theme

Pilots “scramble” for their aircraft during the Battle of Britain.

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few

– Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister during the Second World War


The CF-18 Demonstration Team will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain – and the courageous airmen that Prime Minister Winston Churchill dubbed the “few” – during its 2015 show season.

The special design of the demo Hornet, reflecting this theme, will be unveiled at a later date.

The summer of 1940 was a dark time for the Allies. With shocking rapidity, Adolf Hitler’s forces had overrun most of Europe. By mid-June, Allied forces had been pushed off the continent and Nazi forces were at the English Channel, preparing to invade England.

 “The Battle of France is over,” said British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.  “I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. ” 

Hitler directed that the Royal Air Force (RAF) – including Canadians and members of other Commonwealth air forces fighting with or as part of the RAF – be eliminated to allow the invasion to take place. The air battle began on July 10, with Nazi attacks on British convoys, ports and coastal radar stations. One of the most savage days was August 13. A few days later Churchill praised the brave airmen in words that have echoed through the decades:  “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

On September 15, the Germans launched a massive attack but, although the fighting was fierce, the RAF, using new tactics, was victorious. Two days later, Hitler postponed the invasion; he never again considered it seriously.

By the end of September, the Battle of Britain was over. It was the first military confrontation won by air power and Germany’s first defeat of the Second World War. More than 2,300 pilots and aircrew from Great Britain and nearly 600 from other nations participated in the Battle.

Of these, 544 lost their lives, including 23 Canadians. More than 100 Canadians flew in the battle, principally as members of the Royal Canadian Air Force's (RCAF) No. 1 Squadron (later renamed 401 Squadron) and the RAF’s 242 “All Canadian” Squadron. An estimated 300 Canadians served as groundcrew.

It is a great honour for the RCAF and the 2015 CF-18 Demonstration Team to commemorate the dedication and sacrifice of those brave Canadian aircrew and groundcrew who stood up to tyranny and left their mark on history.


Notable Canadians

Squadron Leader Ernie McNab, OBE, DFC, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his brilliant contribution to victory during the Battle of Britain. He was the commanding officer of No. 1 (later 401) Squadron when the Allies were pushed out of France in June 1940 and was the first person to lead an RCAF unit into battle. Flying a Hurricane, he won the RCAF’s first victory during the Battle when he destroyed a Dornier 215 on August 15, 1940. He also became the RCAF’s first ace during the Battle, credited with 5.5 “kills”. He survived the war, and served in the RCAF until 1957.

Canada’s highest scoring ace of the Battle of Britain was Pilot Officer William McKnight, DFC and Bar, who flew with the RAF’s 242 Squadron, which was called “All Canadian” because so many Canadians served in it. He downed 17 German planes in his short but illustrious career. On August 30, 1940, during the Battle of Britain, Pilot Officer McKnight had three kills in one day: two Messerschmitt 109s and a Henkel 111. Less than five months later, on January 12, 1941, he was dead; his Hurricane aircraft lost over the English Channel. He has no known grave and was only 23 years old when he went missing.