"The Commonwealth Air Memorial" Top 5 Page for this destination Ottawa Off The Beaten Path Tip by johngayton
Ottawa Off The Beaten Path: 118 reviews and 182 photos
I had taken a picture of this memorial as a foreground to The Old City Hall without actually understanding what it was all about. It was only on my return from Canada, when going through my pictures, that I decided to investigate further and it really has been quite educational.
The memorial is situated opposite the Old City Hall on Sussex Drive about a mile or so upriver from Downtown Ottawa and commemorates the 822 people who lost their lives during the 2nd World War in Canada, the US and West Indies and who have no known grave. Many of the dead were trainees participating in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan which was predominantly based in Canada. The Air Training Plan was instigated by Britain who needed to train aircrews during the war but had neither the facilities nor the physical space to do so and also required a place where such crews could be safely trained without the daily threat from the Luftwaffe.
Thus Canada was chosen and at its height the program involved 231 training sites, over 100,000 personel and was responsible for the training of over 130,000 people from all over the Commonwealth(about 50,000 of whom were pilots) who then returned to Britain to serve with the RAF.
The "Battle of Britain" was one of the turning points of WWII and whilst there were the inevitable losses of life during such an intensive "crash course" (sometimes literally) those who died during their training are as equally remembered as those who died in action.
The memorial was commissioned by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Canada Public Works Department and unvieled on July 1st 1959 by HM Queen Elizabeth the 2nd.
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