Germany’s air force attacked military and civilian targets from the first day of the war. On July 10, 1940, the Luftwaffe struck hard at Great Britain, attempting to soften the country for a land invasion. The Battle of Britain started with Luftwaffe raids on shipping in the English Channel, then on airfields and radar bases. In early September, the attacks shifted again, to London, Coventry and other major cities. More than 100 Canadians and one Newfoundlander served among the 2,900 pilots of the British air force who repulsed the attacks in dramatic air clashes. Meanwhile, the RAF had begun a strategic bombing campaign against German cities on May 11, 1940. From 1942 on, Allied air attacks became increasingly devastating, as new technology and more and better aircraft became available. On Aug. 9, 1945, the U.S. Air Force detonated the “Fat Man” atomic bomb over Nagasaki, Japan. Five days later, the war was over.
Some 1,820 Canadians and 740 Newfoundlanders were assigned to Britain’s Royal Air Force at the outset of the Second World War. Here, the British crew of No. 83 Squadron, RAF, sits on a bomb trolley in front of a Handley Page Hampden twin-engine bomber, several of which were used in the RAF’s first night raid on Berlin, on Aug. 25, 1940.
Imperial War Museums/HU-104656
Large format: 21″ x 29″
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