News


Remembrance Day Visit (well almost)

On the 10th November, 2012 at 11 o’clock, personnel from RAF Leeming joined Major Jason Furlong of the RCAF to place a wreath on the RCAF Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum.

 Placing a wreath

For the first time since it’s dedication, serving personnel from Great Britain and Canada laid a wreath to mark Armistice Day. The opportunity was taken to survey the site for positioning a full-size bronze at the 11 o’clock position and a suitable location for the foundations. Unfortunately the day was overcast so the team spent the next 15 minutes working out complex angles for sun-cast shadows to precisely determine the exact position for the figure. Naturally, the sun came out shortly after!

 

Although further details are to be worked through, the plan is a full-size statue of Sqn Ldr Ian William Bazalgette VC, DFC be placed at this precise point to represent the bravery and sacrifice of all Canadians. Born in Alberta, he was awarded the VC posthumously having died attempting to save the lives of wounded members of his crew.

Visitors to the monument


Visitors lay flags at the monument in August On Saturday 3rd September, Gunners from 609 (West Riding) Squadron visited the National Memorial Arboretum to lay a wreath at the Armed Forces Memorial.
 
This was the first time that those who had paraded during the dedication ceremony had the opportunity to see the Canadian Memorial in it’s full glory. Flt Lt Alfie Hall gave a short presentation on the story behind the concept and it’s construction before those gathered laid a simple cross and two Canadian flags to show that they had visited and paused to remember those to whom it is dedicated.
 
The day was especially sunny so the full colours were visible and the site is particularly striking in full sun, being clearly visible for quite some distance. This is particularly apparent when walking to the site from the Armed Forces memorial, the centrepiece and focal point of the NMA, as this memorial stands on raised ground.
 
As we were leaving, a small group of (English) visitors who had stood reverently to one side, asked about the Memorial and how it had come about. It was a particularly proud moment to be able to describe the features and hear their thoughts about “our” Memorial. The feedback was entirely positive and they were thrilled to find out more about the links to Canada and that those bonds are as close today as ever.

Dedication Ceremony Details

24 May, 2011

Preparations are being made for the monument dedication ceremony to take at place 1340 at the National Memorial Arboretum. The monument will be dedicated by His Royal Highness, Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO, accompanied by a BBMF Spitfire flypast. Members of the public wishing to attend the ceremony are welcome to come and visit the arboretum and witness the dedication.  Full details can be found at the Ceremony page.



Granite Maple Leaf from Canada is assmbled at the Arboretum

23 June, 2011

Today NIck Johnson, our Stone Mason, assembled the Maple Leaf made of granite from Canada at the National Memorial Arboretum.
the Leaf is made up of a pieces of granite cut to resemble the veins in a real maple leaf.

The granite is carefully lowered into place

Lafarge Canada Provides Material for Royal Canadian Air Force World War II Memorial in the UK

25 May, 2011

Lafarge Canada just donated Canadian granite for a monument commemorating the Canadian airmen and airwomen who served alongside Great Britain during the World Wars, and specifically the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The monument is being constructed at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, England, the United Kingdom’s 150 acre sanctuary and centre of remembrance of those who gave their lives in service to their country, and all other men and women who served.


Click on the image to view the detailsLafarge was approached for help finding granite for the monument in February 2011 by Captain Jean Houde, Deputy Flight Commander of 426 Squadron of the Canadian Forces. "It is an honour and a pleasure to have been asked to participate in this small way to the construction of a memorial to Canadian airmen and airwomen,” says Vice President of Aggregates for Lafarge Canada Bruce Semkowski. “On behalf of Lafarge Canada and all of its employees, we thank Captain Houde for this opportunity."

You can read the rest of the Lafarge Press release at this link



Canadian C-130J Hercules arrives with Granite from Canada

24 May, 2011Herc%20Landing.jpg

A Canadian CC-130J arrived at RAF Linton-on-Ouse carrying the granite that will form the maple leaf base, roundel and plinth for the monument. The aircraft was flown by personnel from 426 Squadron, from 8 Wing Trenton. Their arrival marks the first time in over 60 years that the Thunderbirds have visited RAF Linton-on-Ouse. The granite itself comes from a quarry in Ontario.

Forklist unloading the first of four pallets of Granite

The four boxes of Granite laid out in front of the Aircraft


Foundation Laid at Arboretum

19 May, 2011

Nick Johnson just sent us some pictures of the first digging and laying down of the foundation for the monument.



Nick Johnson digs up the ground in preparation for the foundation
The prepared foundation

Dedication Ceremony for 8 July, 2011

25 April, 2011

We have just promulagated the order of service for the Dedication Ceremony for the monument which can be viewed at this link.

The ceremony will occur on the 8th of July, 2011 and will include music from the RAF Voluntary Choir and the Band of the RAF Regiment.

Registration as Official Charity in United Kingdom

20 April, 2011

Our project just received official registration as a Charity in the UK. We are now officially know as "The Royal Canadian Air Force Memorial" under charity registered number 1141407. You can find out more at http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/

First Picture of Carved Monument!

3 Feb, 2011

Here is the first picture of the monument at the stonemason's workshop as it starts to take shape.

Freshly carved Monument.

Updated List of Sponsors

3 Feb, 2011

Owing to the generosity of many individuals and organizations, we are able to erect our monument. See the full list at Sponsors.

RAF Squadrons to Assist With buildling Memorial to Canadian Airmen

3 Mar, 2011

Two stations of the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) have launched a fundraising project to create a lasting memorial to the Canadian airmen and women that came to Britain’s aid during the Second World War.

The stations, RAF Leeming and Linton on Ouse – both in the north of the UK – were home to Canadian airmen during the war.

The memorial will be located at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, the UK’s year-round centre of remembrance, and will be a stone monolith with granite information panels in English and French, topped by a stone maple leaf.

An RAF-led fundraising effort is now underway inviting individuals and businesses in Canada and the UK to join the campaign in an attempt to raise the funds needed to complete the work by Summer 2011.

Michael Oliver, Chairman of Oliver Valves – a British manufacturing business that builds valves used by the world’s biggest energy firms has agreed to personally underwrite the project.

The RAF and Oliver Valves have also written to major Canadian banks asking for their support.

Major Jason C Furlong of the Canadian Armed Forces said: “The Royal Canadian Air Force contributed more than 130,000 aircrew to the war effort– the fourth largest allied air force and over 10,000 lost their lives.

“The Arboretum already contains memorials to the Royal Australian Air Force and the Norwegian Navy, but a monument to the Canadian airmen is conspicuous by its absence.

“Fundraising for projects like these can be a long-drawn-out process, but the generous offer we have received from Michael Oliver will allow us to quickly rectify the absence of a fitting memorial.”

Michael Oliver said: “It is very important that we remember the people who fought alongside Great Britain during the Second World War and a memorial to the Canadian Royal Air Force at the Arboretum is long overdue.”

Those wishing to donate to the project can send checks – payable to RCAFA Trust Fund – to RCAF Association Trust Fund, P.O. Box 2460 Station 'D', Ottawa Ontario, K1P 5W6.

Monument gets Approval

22 Jan, 2011

The National Memorial Arboretum were pleased to approve the design of the memorial with a couple of minor changes:

The changes have been incorporated into the revised design and the timeline for completion proceeds unchanged. 


These diagrams from the Stone mason were included with the application..

Website Goes Live

1 Jan, 2011
The RCAF Monument Website is established and reading for viewing

Meeting with Stonemason

First team meeting with Nick Johnson, the Stonemason F/L Hall and Nick Johnson with a sample crest for the memorial.
Team survey of the site at the NMA The site at the NMA where the monument will be erected, shown with the places for the stone markers

10 Oct, 2010
Members of the committee meet with stonemason at National Memorial Arboretum to discuss the general layout of monument.

CAF and RAF Collaborative Meeting

10 Sep, 2010
Major Jason Furlong of the Canadian Armed Forces and Flight Lieutent Alfie Hall meet to discuss the collaboration on the memorial.

Stonemason Selected

19 Aug, 2010

A stonemason is selected, Nick Johnson who has constructed several memorials including the Basra Wall. Outline permission is given to use the plot between the Royal Air Force Association and Royal Auxiliary Air Force Memorials.

Project Team First Meeting

9 Jun, 2010

With a clear design and a completion date, the interested parties held a meeting to discuss the project and volunteer for the many tasks that would need to be completed. With a large pool of volunteers to choose from this was relatively simple and several supporters, aware of how much time would be required, offered their support but removed themselves from the running. Each of these has since been totally supportive and has helped as and when they have been able to.

Survey of Site

8 Jun, 2010

Alfie was joined by Dave Turnbull for a critical look at potential designs and locations at the National Memorial Arboretum(NMA). The NMA's Paul Kennedy was able to provide guidance and assistance as well as showing the different types of construction. The first impression was that materials for the construction would have to be of the highest quality to withstand the rigours of the climate. The second was that the design would have to be outstanding as a huge amount of care and thought had gone into each and every one currently in situ. From this, they agreed on following requirements that would need to be met:
The same day as they returned, Dave produced the initial design and an artist's impression that has since been updated and has been crucial to the fund raising efforts.

Inspiration

24 May, 2010

609 (West Riding) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force has a long and distinguished history as a home to personnel originating from around the World but most notably during WW2. Of those of foreign extraction,  21 were Canadian who served with distinction and had a significant impact. Furthermore, many airmen emigrated to Canada after the war, including such noteworthy individuals as Jan Zurakowski whose achievements include Chief Development Test Pilot of the Avro Arrow. Since WW2, the Canadian influence has always been a point of pride amongst the squadron's members.

As a result, it was on a private visit to the Basra Wall at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire, that the squadron Adjutant asked if he could also visit the Royal Canadian Air Force Memorial. The discovery that that there was no such thing, as well as the fact that there was not one in existence in the UK surprised Flight Lieutenant Hall. The team at the NMA explained that there was no reason why such a memorial could not be dedicated at the site if an application was made. On his return to RAF Leeming, Alfie conducted some research and then discussed it with his colleagues to find that there was unprecedented support for a project to install a fitting and lasting Memorial to all Canadian Airmen and women as soon as practicable.

Future Schedule of Events



May 11             On-site constructon begins

08 Jul 11           Dedication Ceremony for the memorial.