Air Force veterans and young cadets gathered today to honour 16 young British men who lost their lives training out of the Mount Hope airbase during WWII between 1941 and 1943,
This really is a unique local chapter of our rich WWII. 16 young men, training far from home , 14 of whom rest at St. Paul’s Anglican church, where they remain far from forgotten.
The British commonwealth air training plan had bases across Ontario, giving airmen non-combat terrain to hone their skills. Most died in crashes not far from Mount Hope.
Today at the service the young air cadets dutifully serve the fallen.
“I am very proud that I’m here with my squad in support of this. It’s just a very proud moment for me.”
Some guests say this anniversary is a notable one.
“I think it’s even more poignant because we have men who are active in Iraq and Syria. We remember them as well and pray for their safety too.” said MP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale David Sweet.
Each year at the ceremony the “ode to remembrance” is read to the lost British airmen. Later at the legion a lunch is prepared and memories shared. RAF vet Doug Harrington trained at a similar base in Belleville. he recounts his own fallen mates.
“And they just disappeared into lake Ontario. So you know it was ever-present. We knew it could happen.”
2 surviving airmen both in their 90’s send flowers from the UK every year, an ongoing tribute to their brothers in arms.