On 26 June 2012, a contingent of Canadians will depart Ottawa, Ontario for London, England to represent Canada at the unveiling of a significant memorial to the veterans of the strategic bombing campaign that contributed immensely to the successful defeat of the NAZI enemy during the Second World War. The memorial is under construction as we speak, and will be dedicated to those who lived through the campaign, and most certainly to those who did not. A portion of the roof to the memorial will consist of aluminium derived from the remains of a downed RCAF (6 Group) Halifax bomber. Those who lost their lives sacrificed everything so that others would benefit from the conditions that assured their success. The contingent of Canadians will consist primarily of 25 veterans of the campaign, representing the spectrum of strategic bombing operations and its impact. We will strive to secure the participation of Canadian veterans who served in the Royal Air Force, and those who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. We will strive to secure the participation of one veteran from each of the active Canadian squadrons, if possible. We will strive to secure representation from all walks of Second World War strategic bomber operations, aircrew and groundcrew, if possible. We will strive to secure the participation of veterans from all crew positions, if possible. We will strive to secure the participation of Canadian veterans of all ranks, and all gallantry awards and honours, if possible. We will also strive to secure the participation of strategic bomber campaign veterans from all parts of the country, and our many nationalities, if possible. And, we will strive to secure the participation of those who fell, evaded, or were captured and may have suffered at the hands of the enemy in places like Buchenwald and various other Stalag Luft prisons from which we know they made every effort to escape. We will strive to secure the participation of those veterans known as Guinea Pigs, for the burn injuries that were inflicted on their bodies, but not on their indomitable spirits. We will strive for all this, and we will represent Canada with pride.
Each of the veterans chosen must be accompanied by an able-bodied caregiver who themselves ideally should not be eligible for nor require the same medical reporting, considerations and concerns as the veterans may require. We will also be joined by a contingent of serving Royal Canadian Air Force personnel and a party of important authorities, including medical, from the department of Veterans Affairs.
Some social events are planned for 27 June 2012. The unveiling ceremony is scheduled for 28 June, and the return flight to Ottawa is scheduled for 29 June. All transportation, accommodation and meal costs from Ottawa to London and return will be taken care of by Canada and Canadians. At this time costs incurred by veterans getting from their home to Ottawa and from Ottawa back to their home will be the responsibility of the veteran. Once the list of veterans selected is released we will need to contact veterans who must travel to Ottawa, to help arrange for accommodation and transportation in Ottawa during the evening of 25 June 2012.
The occasion of the Olympics 2012 in London, England, has had a significant impact on the availability of accommodation, in London. However, the Canadian Defence Liaison Staff (CDLS) London has secured sufficient rooms for the contingent, with no real spares. Seating for the events of 28 June is also well over-subscribed, but the CDLS staff have secured sufficient seating for the Canadian veterans and their caregivers, along with important support personnel.
This web-site will be updated over the next few weeks, as we get closer to the event. In the meantime, veterans need to apply, need to send the medical documentation to the Air Force Association of Canada (director at airforce.ca ) and the veterans need to identify their service squadron, decorations and contact details for themselves and their caregiver. Veterans Affairs medical authorities should have reviewed all of the files by end-April at which time the Air Force Association of Canada will be identifying the primary 25 veterans and the back-up candidates.
Should anyone have questions they are encouraged to call or write to the executive director Dean C. Black, 866-351-2322 ext. 222 or cell-phone 613-612-7223 or e-mail director at airforce.ca. In the meantime, please consult this page, and the pages linked below, to learn more and learn the latest about the Air Force Association of Canada’s contingent of veterans participating in the unveiling of the monument to the Strategic Bombing Campaign.