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Catching Up With the News

1 APR 2008 – RCAF 84TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN NORTH RHINE-WESTPHALIA, GERMANY

By 21405 Luc Vermette (RMC ’99)

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(Click for larger view)

To live in an area so very rich in military history there was a desire to host an event where local Canadians could share some of the cherished traditions and history with the multinational NATO environment. There are only two Canadians resident to the local area, coincidently Air Force. The decision was made to combine the 90th RAF Anniversary with the RCAF celebration and invite various nations. There were members from the Interim Deployable Combined Air Operations Center (IDCAOC), from the CAOC2 in Uedem and from the Joint Air Power Competence Center (JAPCC) in Kalkar. The nations included were Canadian, British, American, Belgian, Dutch and German. The location chosen was Schloss Moyland between Kleve and Kalkar in Germany. This area between the MAAS and RHINE rivers has a history that is recognized worldwide. There are two major operations that come to mind. In the fall of 1944, Operation MARKET GARDEN, the largest airborne operation in history comprised largely of British and American forces took place in this northern area. It is often associated with the film ‘A Bridge Too Far’, depicting the attempt to seize the bridge crossing the RHINE River near Arnhem, Netherlands. Then in 1945, Operation VERITABLE, where the Canadian First Army would attack south from Nijmegen, break through the Siegfried Line and link up with US forces to clear the west bank of the Rhine before the final thrust on Berlin could begin. The castle has been renovated into a museum displaying various artworks, a large private collection and historically significant photographs including some from World War II including one that portrays Canadian troops with Winston Churchill inside the castle around the fireplace after having cleared the area. There are repairs made to the castle that are still visible to the naked eye from the bombardments of World War II. Only within the past 20 years has the castle been restored and opened to the public. With a walk and tour of the castle grounds, the entertainment of the piper and piano player complementing each other, the short but vivid history on the origins of the RCAF and RAF it was an evening to remember. We would like to thank The Office of Air Force Heritage and History in Winnipeg, Airforce magazine, and the RAF museum in London for their support in gathering information for presentation.

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