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RADAR Canadian History of RADAR  
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Learn how a handful of young Canadian volunteers helped turn the tide of the Second World war with a new weapon : radar!

RADAR tells the story of 6,000 Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) radar experts who served in Russia, Turkey, China, New Guinea, Guadalcanal and a dozen other locations during the Second World War.

In 1940-1, the darkest time of that global conflict, a band of Canadian students left their high schools and universities to save Great Britain from Nazi invasion. They all shared a knowledge of radio electronics, and they were to become the Allies' experts for operating a new secret weapon-radar. Working in small teams around the world, they battled storms in the Bay of Bengal, operated behind enemy lines in Burma, landed in Nazi-occupied France on D-Day and evaded capture by the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge.

Attached to Britain's Royal Air Force, they operated on land, in the air and even, at times, at sea. Their expertise helped Allied air forces destroy enemy rocket bases, sink enemy supply ships and deliver the supplies and firepower needed by ground armies to liberate Europe and Southeast Asia. Closer to home, they operated the radar warning systems that protected Canada's shores against enemy air and navy attack. The radar warning systems were equally valuable in controlling the movements of Allied ships and aircraft. In this important home defence work, the radar personnel were assisted by women members of the Canadian armed forces who recorded and analyzed the radar information.

Radar is an electronic system that detects and tracks distant objects like aircraft and ships. Radar transmits radio waves (at 300,000 km/sec.), and precisely monitors the electronic echo reflected by objects in the area of the transmission. Aircraft and ships also use electronic pulses from radar to track nearby landmasses when darkness or poor weather make visual navigation difficult or impossible.

RCAF radar veterans of the Second World War formed the Canadian Radar History Project to collect and record information about their accomplishments and experiences. This exhibition provides a sampling of the important research these veterans - now in their 70's and 80's- have done to ensure that their story will survive for future generations.

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   Canadian War
   1 Vimy Place
   Ottawa, Ontario
   K1A 0M8

   Date created: May 12, 2003 | Last updated: October 14, 2009
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