April 4, 1942: While flying a PBY-5 flying boat, Squadron Leader L.J. Birchall and his crew spot and report a Japanese naval force heading toward the island of Ceylon. Birchall’s plane is shot down and he and the other surviving crew are taken prisoner, but their warning allows the island’s defenders to prepare for the Japanese attempt to take the island. For his actions, Birchall earns the name Saviour of Ceylon and is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
April 4, 1949: Canada signs the agreement creating NATO. Initially involving Canada, the United States and 10 Western European countries, NATO would continually grow over the years in response to the perceived threat posed by the Soviet Union.