As a prelude to Operation Sea Lion, the German invasion of Britain, the Luftwaffe (German air force) launched an offensive against the southern coast of Britain. The goal was to eliminate the Royal Air Force (RAF) and gain command of the air over the English Channel and southern England. On 1 August 1940, the offensive began. Initially, Luftwaffe bombers concentrated on destroying British radar installations, but, on 24 August, they began to attack RAF bases throughout southern England.
The Royal Canadian Air Force had only one fighter squadron (12 Hurricane fighters) stationed in England. Consequently, 80 Canadian pilots were assigned to RAF fighter squadrons. By mid-September, the Luftwaffe offensive had failed, and, on 17 September 1940, the German High Command postponed Operation Sea Lion indefinitely.