Government of Canada honours national historic significance of Canadian Participation in the Royal Flying Corps

Government of Canada honours national historic significance of Canadian Participation in the Royal Flying Corps

Posted on: November 9, 2018 12:15 pm

November 9, 2018  
Ottawa, Ontario 
Parks Canada Agency

During the First World War, airpower became increasingly important to warfare. More than 22,000 Canadians joined the British flying services, many of them served in the Royal Flying Corps, where they made a significant contribution to the war effort.

Today, Ms. Mona Fortier, Member of Parliament for Ottawa — Vanier, commemorated the national historic significance of Canadian Participation in the Royal Flying Corps with a special plaque unveiling ceremony at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. The announcement was made on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna.

In 1917–1918, recognizing the growing importance of airpower, the Royal Flying Corps ran a training scheme for aircrew and ground crew in Canada. The construction of large-scale aerodromes and hundreds of aircraft and the participation of many Canadians in the Royal Flying Corps also catapulted Canada into the aviation age. By the end of the war, Canada had a substantial number of skilled aviation mechanics, technicians, pilots, and airplanes as well as an aviation school, which helped pave the way for the formation and development of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Following the unveiling of the bronze plaque commemorating the national historic significance of Canadian Participation in the Royal Flying Corps, Parks Canada presented a Hometown Heroes panel featuring Second Lieutenant Alexander William “Billy” MacHardy (1894–1918) to the Royal Canadian Air Force as part of the Hometown Heroes initiative. MacHardy served in the Royal Flying Corps from 1917 until his death on November 10th, 1918, when his plane was shot down over Belgium. A copy of that panel will be installed in Froidchapelle, Belgium during a ceremony organized by Parks Canada on November 10th, a century later, to the day and to the hour.

The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizes significant people, places, and events that shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians and youth connect with their past. The commemoration process is largely driven by public nominations. To date, more than 2,000 designations have been made. 

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