Editor’s Message (RCAF Journal - SPRING 2015 - Volume 4, Issue 2)

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It is hard to imagine what might have been going through the minds of ordinary Canadians during the spring and summer of 1940. The conflict that would become known as World War II was not even a year old, but it seemed as if German forces were unstoppable. The impossible was happening; France had fallen, and England, the centre of the British Empire, was threatened. The psychological impact of this unbelievable series of events must have been staggering. Even the prime minister of the day—Mackenzie King, who strove for most of his political life to ensure Canada’s independence in word and deed from England—was shocked. So much so that his government’s cautious and fiscally restrained approach to the war was abandoned. What could be done for England in its time of need would be done. An offer was made to provide a Canadian fighter squadron; it was gratefully accepted. With that, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) embarked upon its first expeditionary operation.

Fast-forward 75 years and the RCAF is still at it—engaged in combat, far from home, against a new adversary threatening Canadian values and beliefs. Perhaps that is why every year we commemorate “The Few”—both members of the RCAF and Canadians who flew with the Royal Air Force and fought in the skies over England during the battle—and “the many” who supported them in the struggle. This year, as part of the RCAF’s commemorative activities, it was decided to dedicate this volume of the Royal Canadian Air Force Journal to the Battle of Britain. The articles herein review our history, offer new insights into those events and, from the Commander’s perspective, explain why it is important for us to remember those who came before.

On your behalf, I want to thank RCAF History and Heritage—in particular the Director, Dr. Richard Mayne—for writing and/or acquiring many of the articles. And I want to thank wholeheartedly (cue thunderous applause) the production staff at the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre (Adri Boodoosingh, Denis Langlois, Luc Leroy, Lisa Moulton, Christine Rodych,  Françoise Romard and Hope Smith) for all of their hard work on this publication and in supporting the RCAF’s commemorative programme. This issue, indeed the Journal in its entirety, would not exist without them.

Enjoy the read.

Sic Itur Ad Astra

Major William March, CD, MA
Senior Editor 

Abbreviation

RCAF―Royal Canadian Air Force

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