Second World War
This exhibit looks at parts of the history of the Second World War in regards to Canada and Canadians' participation in air defence. It was these six years that were elemental in the development of modern air defence and what we now know as 'radar'. Brief descriptions of some of the main exhibit topics are below.
The Battle of Britain
At the outset of the Second World War, Germany knew that to be able to control Britain, it had to gain advantage over the Royal Air Force and have supremacy over the skies. By using its Luftwaffe (air force), Germany intended to bomb strategic regions and locations to render Britain incapable of defending itself. This was to take four weeks, after which a land invasion could take place. After six months of daily attacks and thousands of raids, Britain had not yet been beaten. Although the bombing raids continued on throughout the war, this first major Battle, the Battle of Britain, was responsible for changing the course of the entire war.
William Olmsted was a RCAF fighter pilot in the Second World War and served in North Africa as well as Europe, flying Spitfires for almost two years. In his time spent overseas, Olmsted flew in more different countries than any other Canadian fighter pilot and flew in more sorties (missions) than any other Canadian fighter pilot. His experiences earned him a Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar. During the war he kept immensely detailed diaries and kept every letter that he received and sent. After his death, his family generously donated his collection to our museum, where we now keep a permanent display for him.
V1 Flying Bombs
Near the end of the Second World War, Germany developed a new weapon that was both terrifying and highly advanced. the V1 flying bomb (also known as the 'buzz bomb' or 'doodlebug') was a pilotless plane-shaped bomb and engine system designed to be launched from a large site on mainland Europe and fly under its own power across the English Channel to London or other strategic locations. In less than a year, almost 10,000 of these flying bombs were launched which resulted in the damage or destruction of thousands of homes and the death of more than 5,000 people, mostly civilians. CFMAD has an original engine pod of one of these bombs on display.