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The 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain was marked Sunday with a commemorative ceremony at the Yellowknife Cenotaph. 

The event honoured the 23 Canadian lives lost defending the British from German airstrikes in World War II. 

On the importance of remembering the battle, Squadron 440 Lt.-Col. Devlon Paquette says, “if you forget history, you’ll repeat it. These are the young people who fought for democracy, we can’t forget the cost.”

Lt.-Col. Devlon Paquette, left, and chief warrant officer Robert Selman, right, lay the second of three wreaths to commemorate the lives lost in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago.
Natalie Pressman/NNSL photos

The last surviving Canadian veteran of the battle is 102-year-old Ralph Wild. 

Wild, who lives in Winnipeg, was part of the ground crew during the battle. 

Robert Selman, Squadron 440 chief warrant officer, says, “It’s the younger generation (that’s) not going to know anyone who fought in that war.”

Remembering Wild and his cohort is what brings meaning to these commemorative ceremonies, Selman says. 

Ceremony attendees heard that the average age of Canadian soldiers in the battle was 22-years-old and that the average lifespan after entering the theatre of war was just four weeks. 

The RCMP, Joint Task Force North, and 440 Squadron each laid a wreath by the Vincent Massey Memorial to honour the fallen soldiers.

The RCMP, Joint Task Force North, and 440 Squadron each laid a wreath by the Vincent Massey Memorial on Sunday to honour the lives lost in the Battle of Britain.
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Natalie Pressman

Reporting courts and cops and general news, Natalie started with NNSL Media in 2020. Before moving to Yellowknife, Natalie worked as a community radio trainer in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First...

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