After Kevin's thoughtful post relating the IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow to some of the todays events, I followed up with my own recollection of my day on September 15th, 2022.
Three years ago in 2019 I cycled the South Downs way with a friend from B.C. Canada for the 100 miles, with a stop at RAF Tangmere. Two days later on September 15th, 2019 I was at Capel Le Ferne on a beautiful September day in very similar weather to Ottawa's weather of September 15th, 2022. I recommend anyone visit Capel Le Ferne on the 15th of September, as you will see a Spitfire fly over the memorial and the white cliffs of Dover. The interactive surround sound and video show in the museum is very impressive.
I was thinking not only of this crucial day on September 15th, 1940 when Britain fought not just for itself but for the whole world. And the whole whole world had to some extent joined in with pilots and aircrew from allied nations such as Poland, Canada, USA, France, Slovakia and many more.
I remember Sept. 15th 2019 for many reasons. One of which was the world in which we lived, free of a pandemic, allowing ease of travel. My last great trip actually since then, and the challenge of the South Downs added to the goal, helping showcase this site that allows anyone to add a pilot's Bio. Many have done so.
To keep it brief, and, as they say, a youtube video is worth a thousand words, here is my day's outing from Stittsville Ontario to Ashton Ontario, Canada
. A mere 32km return, but tucked in the corner of this very English pub I found a series of tributes to the RAF and RCAF in WWII including various Spitfire images and pilot tributes. This made for a great mini-adventure and my father and sister met up with me there for a few pints and we toasted all the aircrew and pilots of the B of B, no matter what role, no matter what aircraft, no matter what distinction, rank, or service.
As the Capel Le Ferne memorial has a pilot stood down looking over the seas, without rank, sitting, and reflecting -- we thought of all who served in that frightening time. Should you ever venture to Canada, and, should you ever end up in the little hamlet of Ashton, make sure you go to the very corner of the pub and look at the framed items on the wall. This is a special place, carefully put together to honour not just the RCAF but this historic struggle.
Should you wish come to Ottawa and do this bike ride on the old rail trail adjoined by forest and wetlands (I do not suggest any winter month), perhaps you can also visit the National Aviation Museum, or check out the Vintage Wings (Gatineau) hanger and library, and then, do this Pub visit, I'd be glad to host you. It's only 16km to the Pub from the bike start, I am sure you can do it. Here's a video of my day and pub visit
. They rent e-bikes here too.
Just the same, I hope to return to do the South Downs Way again some day and then get to Duxford myself afterwards. I am due for another epic adventure, and I also hear Malta has some nice country side.