Battle of Britain commemorative service on Sept. 17 is an act of hope said CFB Shilo Chaplain

September 16, 2023

Cpl Maxime Proulx at 2018 Ex Heavy Loader Competition

St. Barbra’s Chapel will host the Battle of Britain Commemorative Service on Sept. 17 at 10:30 a.m. Chaplain presiding on the day, Lt. (N) Boghos Barbouri said the service is about memory and about honouring the sacrifice of those killed in the historic battle, but also those who have given their lives fighting for freedom everyday since. Photo: K-J Millar/Shilo Stag News

K-J Millar, Shilo Stag News

One thousand, four hundred and ninety-five pilots and crew were killed in the Air Force Battle of Britain and those lives need to be remembered, said Lieutenant (N) Boghos Barbouri, BTL chaplain at CFB Shilo on Sept. 15.

The first decisive victory for U.K. and Allied Forces in the skies above Great Britain in the Second World War and those who fought in it will be commemorated at the Battle of Britain remembrance service on Sept. 17, (Sunday) at CFB Shilo.

The full military dress commemorative church service will be at St. Barbra’s Protestant Chapel, across from the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) in building T99, starting at 10:30 a.m.

Lt. (N) Barbouri said services like this are essential to keep the torch alive as they not only remember those who died in a specific battle but also those who give their lives for our country every day since.

“It’s about memory. It’s about memorial. It’s about honouring the people who sacrificed their lives when they faced trials defending freedom, what they believed in and against tyranny,” the chaplain said.

“This service is an act of hope. Hope is something good to feel, but it requires intention … You do hope. You don’t wait for hope.”

Out of the RAF and Allied Forces pilots and crews, 47 Canadians were killed in the battle alongside 47 New Zealanders, 25 Poles, 24 Australians, 20 Czechs, 17 South Africans, six Belgians and one American said Lt. (N) Barbouri, citing numbers listed in the Protestant Chaplain Handbook.

Andrew Oakdon, museum director of the Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA) Museum said the Battle of Britain was a realization point for Canada.

“The Battle of Britain certainly pushed the realities of war to the home front,” he said. “It brought home there was a war on and Canada needed to participate.”

With many Canadians born of British heritage, it drove a lot to enlist and join the war effort, he said. This resulted in more than one million Canadians wearing the uniform in the Second World War.

The Sunday services will include memorial moments and reflections, readings and hymns. While the services are held in the Protestant Chapel, the event is open to people of any faith to commemorate the Battle of Britain and those Forces personnel killed.