Battle of Britain profile of courage: John Alexander Kent and the RAF’s Polish fighter pilots

The 79th anniversary of the Battle of Britain  will be observed on Sunday, September 15, 2019.
A national ceremony will be held at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario,
and local ceremonies will take place across Canada.

John Alexander Kent was born in the Elmwood neighborhood of Winnipeg on June 23, 1914, and from a very young age knew that all he ever wanted to do was fly. His first encounter with an airplane was with one used to take passengers up for rides around the city from an amusement park near his home. The hopes of five-year-old Kent were briefly dashed when his mother forbade him to even go near the aircraft, let alone fly in it. With the exception of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Forestry Patrol, there was very little aviation activity in Western Canada. Even so, Kent used to ride his bicycle to their base on the river to admire the graceful flying boats used by the RCAF at that time. Before long, aircraft belonging to the mine owners and grain dealers began to appear all over Western Canada. However, Lindbergh’s solo flight from New York to Paris was the one event that sparked the greatest interest in aviation, putting it firmly on the map.

With the wave of post-war economic prosperity coming to a peak in the mid-1920s, there came a far greater interest in aviation, especially by those who had profited from that economic expansion. This led to an interest in flying that increased exponentially, not only as a means of opening up…

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