Adolf Hitler’s first defeat was due partly to local hands.
As the Nazi’s grip tightened on Europe, Hitler wanted to reach further and invade Britain. But before the Germans could take the fight to the sea in order to open up the English Channel, they needed air supremacy. They took to the skies in July of 1940 and the Battle of Britain began. It would result in a major victory for the Allies. Winston Churchill called it Britain’s finest hour thanks in part to the Hawker Hurricane, some of which were built right here in Thunder Bay at what was then Canadian Car and Foundry.
“The hurricane shot down more aircraft during the Battle of Britain than any other allied aircraft,” Battle of Britain commemoration parade organizer Rick Mortensen said Sunday. “I think Thunder Bay has a major role they played in that great victory.”
The fight was commemorated at the Lakehead Air Force Memorial with a parade Sunday afternoon. Churchill said never in the history of conflict had so much been owed by so many to so few. Mortensen said the parade is a way to try and pay some of that back.
“We as Canadians owe a great debt to them,” he said. “This is our way of recognizing, of commemorating that debt.”
Second World War veteran Roy Lamore said the battle turned the whole tide of the war.
“This is what had to be done. Doing that, they saved England and everything that went with it,” he said.
The commemoration also helps remember the thousands of civilians and airmen who lost their lives in the battle.