Mr. Speaker, 70 years ago, the skies over London and southern England were a tangled mass of contrails and a roar of Merlin engines as Churchill's “few” hurled their Spitfires and Hurricanes against the Nazi onslaught on the island standing majestically alone in the face of aggression.
From airfields like Biggin Hill, Northholt and Tangmere, more than 100 Canadian fighter pilots in No. 1 Fighter Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force and 13 Royal Air Force fighter squadrons, including 242 Canadian Squadron commanded by the legendary Douglas Bader, fought valiantly and with great effect contributing significantly to the British victory.
By the end of the battle, Hitler's dreams of Operation Sea Lion were dashed, but at the cost of 544 aircrew, including 23 Canadian fighter pilots who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom.
The Battle of Britain was a turning point in the war and yesterday we celebrated its 70th anniversary and the spirit of the British, Canadian and other Commonwealth aircrew who made this, indeed, the British Empire's finest hour.
I bless them all, the long, the short and the tall. Per ardua ad astra.