In April of this year our Executive Director received a phone call from the Chief of Air Staff, History and Heritage office, asking what the Museum would be able to provide as part of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain celebration planned on Parliament Hill, Sunday the 20th of September. It didn’t take long to conclude, that if it could happen, the ideal answer was to situate our Hurricane and Spitfire on the grass at the foot of the Peace Tower. Certainly the two iconic aircraft that the RAF used to persuade the 3rd Reich to postpone their intention to invade England.
Once a logistics plan was developed and approved, the NAFMC restoration team, under the supervision of Mike Joly, disassembled the aircraft in July. For the next two months both planes were repaired and repainted to get them ready for their “flight” from Trenton to Ottawa along the 401 and 416 to the Hill.
Early last week the aircraft were disassembled and loaded individually on DND flatbed trailers for the journey, arriving safely in Ottawa early Friday morning, 18 Sept. There they were offloaded and reassembled under the watchful anticipation of the thousands of tourist that flocked to the Hill for this special weekend. Both were fully up and ready for display within a remarkable 10 hours of dedicated effort by the team. As a centrepiece to the ceremony on Sunday 20 Sept, they stood proudly celebrating this significant anniversary. Their presence on the Hill was acknowledged by many spectators as one of the highlights of the celebration weekend. In fact I was made aware of the fact that it had been over fifty years since the last Battle of Britain celebration on the Hill, since aircraft had been positioned in this manner.
The success for this endeavour must be attributed to the dedication and tireless efforts of the display team who went out of their way to ensure the all timelines were met safely and efficiently. The National Air Force Museum of Canada salutes their outstanding efforts. Well done to: Mike Joly, Museum Restoration Specialist; Bob Collier, Restoration Volunteer; Aubrey Labrie, Restoration Volunteer; John Olson, Restoration Volunteer.