Fund Raising in Canada

Fund Raising in Canada

from Floyd WillistonIt took a while to get it underway but a modest campaign by a number of Canadian friends of the Battle of Britain Historical Society is beginning to gain momentum The target isn’t unreasonable, $10,000 CANADIAN – The deadline for donations is July 31, 2005.

With only a few days remaining in February, the three-week old campaign has already generated more than $5000 CANADIAN. I even had an e-mail from an old schoolmate of mine from Nova Scotia (would you believe from 57 years ago) telling me that she’d sent in a donation in memory of her father who was in the RCAF.

Here is what Rhoda wrote:
“Will send my donation by post. Had the pleasure of meeting several airmen (veterans) from the Battle of Britain when my dad was a Flying Officer at Moncton 31 PD. It brings back a lot of memories and indeed we should be very thankful especially to the ones that gave their lives. I’ll be in England in March and will try and visit the Monument.”

Other individual donations so far have ranged from $10 to $1000.

The spark behind the fund raising effort is George Mitchell (see opposite) of Barrie, Ontario. He now plans to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs with a suggestion that they assist with transportation for any of the few remaining “Canadian Few” to attend the dedication ceremonies on September 18th 2005

Veteran pilot inspires appeal for Battle of Britain Monument

George Mitchell, of Barrie, Ontario, Canada, didn’t fly a Hurricane or a Spitfire during the Battle of Britain. But yet he can truthfully lay claim to having lived through it. Now he’s contacting Canadians to contribute to the building of the new Battle of Britain Monument.

Born in Britain, George first came to Canada to train as an RAF pilot and was a graduate of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). Returning to the UK , he flew the mighty Lancaster. He was later posted to 428(Ghost) Squadron as a bomber instructor. That connection with the RCAF
may have encouraged him to emigrate to Canada postwar. Here, as an engineer, he became part of a great aviation experiment, called the Avro Arrow.

Among the Avro test pilots were two Battle of Britain veterans ­ Janucz Zurakowski (234/609 Sqdns.) and Mike Cooper-Slipper (605 Sqdn,). However, following the end of this exciting development, George became a school teacher, retiring in 1989.

From the moment he arrived in postwar Canada, George played an active role in various veterans organizations. In addition to the Canadian Legion, George contributed his organizational talents to the Wartime Pilots and Aircrew Association, and to the Air Force Association from which he recently
stepped down as President of the 441 (Huronia) Wing in Barrie, Ontario.