POLITICS

New honour for Canadian vets from Second World War Bomber Command

06/25/2012 02:07 EDT | Updated 08/25/2012 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA - Canadian airmen who flew with Bomber Command during the Second World War are getting recognition 67 years after their service.

The Conservative government is announcing that a special bar will be struck to be worn on the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal.

At the end of the war, special medals were awarded for various campaigns, but none was given to those who flew in the long and dangerous bombing campaign.

Many air force veterans have lobbied for recognition and the government has been working on the problem for several years.

One problem was that the campaign medals were awarded by Britain and Canada couldn't alter them by adding a bar.

The service medal, however, was a Canadian decoration and similar bars were given for service at Dieppe and Hong Kong.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the new bar will recognize the service and sacrifice of Bomber Command flyers.

"With the production of this bar, our government is honouring those Canadians who fought for peace, freedom and democracy through their service in Bomber Command operations over Europe," Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney said.

About 10,000 Canadian airmen were killed while serving with Bomber Command.

The bombing campaign has long been controversial because it killed as many as 600,000 Germans, many of them civilians.