Brockville – The re-dedication ceremony of Brockville’s F-86 Golden Hawk Sabre Jet Memorial was held on Friday, September 14th on Blockhouse Island in Downtown Brockville.
A large crowd surrounded the war memorial for the ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the original ceremony held on June 23, 1968 dedicating the retired jet as a war memorial. Members of the restoration committee joined the Royal Canadian Air Force Association and city officials to re-dedicate the memorial by following the originally ceremony that was held in 1968, reflecting on the past and looking towards the future.
The highlight of the ceremony was two fly-passes by Canada’s RCAF Snowbirds over the memorial at the end of the ceremony and a final unexpected victory pass.
In attendance for the ceremony was 77-year-old former RCAF pilot Merv Wren who flew the actual sabre jet that is mounted on Blockhouse Island. Merv is the father to Matt Wren who serves on the Sabre Jet committee.
The F-86 Sabre Jet was one flown by the famous RCAF Aerobatic Team the Golden Hawks which performed from 1959 to 1964 across North America. In 1968, #23649 was purchased and erected by 426 Wing and maintained by the City of Brockville. On June 23 1968, it was dedicated as a War Memorial in honour of the airmen that flew similar aircraft in battle, but did not return.
The original plan for the memorial was to list the names of all Leeds & Grenville RCAF casualties in the conflicts of the 20th century, and Friday’s event program included an Honour Roll of 89 names.
The committee plans in phase two two mount the list permanently to the memorial and improving and upgrading the landscaping around the base of the monument to complete the job. This was never covered by the City contract and therefore they have embarked on a fund raising drive including a special tribute performance of Silver Wings, by AJ Benoit to be held at the Brockville Arts Centre, Saturday September 22, 2018 at 7:30pm. The show is SOLD OUT! The committee is hoping to get the second phase done on time for Canada Day 2019.