Honouring Canada’s “Few” – The 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain

| July 10, 2020



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

Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, 20 August 1940, House of Commons

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the Juno Beach Centre Association is honouring the Canadians who served with Royal Air Force (RAF) Fighter Command in the summer and fall of 1940. We are also taking the opportunity to thank our supporters with a new digital commemorative badge. Funds raised through this program will support the Juno Beach Centre, Canada’s Second World War museum on the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, France.

Taking place mainly in the skies above southern England, the Battle of Britain was one of the most important battles of the Second World War. The German Luftwaffe (air force), fresh from victories in France, Belgium, and The Netherlands, attempted to soften up the British Isles for Operation Sea Lion, the planned invasion of England. At the time, Great Britain was the last bastion of democracy in Europe. For Churchill, failure was unthinkable: “…if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”

Britain, its Empire, the Commonwealth, and the remnants of armed forces from German subjugated countries – such as Poland and Czechoslovakia – did not fail. After months of heavy air fighting starting on 10 July 1940, the resiliency of RAF Fighter Command and the presence of the Royal Navy forced Nazi Germany to look elsewhere for future conquests.

Some 100 Canadians flew with Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. The Royal Canadian Air Force’s webpage on the battle includes a list of 107 names. These airmen hailed from across Canada; from Vancouver, Vernon, and Victoria in British Columbia, to the prairie towns of Edmonton, Regina, and Winnipeg, to Toronto, Quebec City, and Halifax further east. We will draw from this list to personalize the badges although special requests will be accepted. Sponsored badges will be listed on this page along with the name(s) of the donors.

Here are the step-by-step instructions to sponsor a Battle of Britain digital commemorative badge:

  1. Make a donation to the Juno Beach Centre through our website and select “Digital Badge” from the donation details dropdown.
  2. We’ll get in touch with you to select an airman from the list or to collect your personalized inscription.
  3. The inscription should be no longer than 25 characters including spaces. Please also let us know if you would like an English or French badge.
  4. Receive and claim your badge via the email address you used to make your donation. It may take us a business day or two to process your request.
  5. Share your now personalized badge on social media using the hashtags #RememberAlways and #BattleOfBritain80.

Here is what the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain badge looks like:

The badges are two-sided. The front of the badge features a pair of Hawker Hurricane fighter planes leaping through the air. If you look closely, you will see that these Hurricanes feature the squadron code “YO” on the fuselage between the wings and the tail. “YO” was the squadron code of the only Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) squadron to fight in the battle, No. 1 (RCAF) Squadron – later No. 401 Squadron RCAF. A personalized inscription is at the bottom of the badge, below the words “IN MEMORY OF”.

The reverse of the badge features “JUNO BEACH CENTRE” inscribed at the top. Below this is a gold impression of the RCAF cap badge worn by members of the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Finally, below the cap badge, the words “REMEMBER TODAY, REMEMBER ALWAYS” are inscribed. These words capture the mission of the Juno Beach Centre: to always remember and commemorate the sacrifices made by all Canadians who were part of the Allied victory in all theatres of war and at home.

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Canada’s “Few” Commemorative Badge Wall

Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at jbca@junobeach.org.

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