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Event: Birchall Leadership Award 2017

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Date: October 28, 2017

Location: Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

Admission: Individual ticket $200. NOTE: A charitable donation receipt will be issued for the donation portion to only the individual purchasing the tickets. To sponsor a table CLICK HERE.


Internationally-recognized astronaut Chris Hadfield, one of Canada’s modern heroes, will be honoured with the prestigious Birchall Leadership Award, created in honour of a Canadian World War Two hero. Colonel Hadfield, through his work in space and here on earth, exemplifies Birchall’s qualities including the ability to lead in the face of difficulty or adversity to promote the welfare and safety of those under his command.

The Birchall Leadership Award is presented annually to honour the memory of Air Commodore Leonard Birchall (1915-2004), who was an exemplary leader during World War Two in combat and in prisoner of war camps, and post-war as a senior RCAF commander. The 2017 gala is being jointly hosted by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and the Royal Military Colleges Club (RMC Club) Hamilton branch.

Birchall, while pilot of an RCAF Canso seaplane on April 4th, 1942, spotted a Japanese raiding fleet off the coast of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). His report allowed a Royal Navy fleet to save most of their ships and reduce damage to bases on the island. However, Birchall was shot down and spent the next three and a half years as a POW. As the senior Allied officer in his camps, he personally intervened during brutal mistreatment of the POWs and inspired others to do the same, saving many lives but receiving severe beatings in return. His secret diaries were used after the war as evidence at Japanese war crimes trials.


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