The History and the Aircraft of the Air Forces of Canada - from 1914 to today.
On the 6th of June, 1944, three Canadian fighter wings were airborne over the beaches of Normandy when Allied forces raced ashore. The Luftwaffe took heavy losses. RCAF Spitfires, on the 28th of June, shot down 26 German aircraft. Four days later twenty more were destroyed and eleven damaged.
During ground strafing between Falaise and Argentan from the 17th to the 20th of August, RCAF wings estimated that they had destroyed or damaged over 2,600 enemy vehicles. They were also airborne covering the long pursuit across France and Belgium into Holland, across the Rhine and into Northwestern Germany.
No. 39 (Reconnaissance) carried out photo and tactical reconnaissance from the beaches of Normandy to the banks of the Elbe. It was the first RCAF formation across the Rhine and at war's end was the Canadian unit deepest in Germany.
To the Air Forces of Occupation in Germany, the RCAF contributed a
Disarmament Wing and a Fighter Wing of four squadrons, as well as one Air
Observation Post unit.
Painting by Stephen Snider
We Shall Remember Them!
More than eight thousand officers, airmen and airwomen received decorations from the British and Allied governments. They include two Victoria Crosses, over 4,000 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 515 Distinguished Flying Medals, 427 Air Force Crosses, and 42 Air Force Medals. In the Memorial Chamber of the Houses of Parliament lie the Books of Remembrance wherein are recorded the names of 17,000 men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force who gave their lives during the second World War.
Not all Canadians overseas flew with RCAF units. About 60% were assigned to duties with the Royal Air Force and served with honour and distinction. F/0 G.F. Beurling (shown with F/O Bob Middlemiss), H.W. (Wally) McLeod and R.W. (Buck) McNair all received decorations for their prowess as fighter pilots.
Bomber Command had W/C Guy Gibson, who led 617 Squadron to smash the Mohne and Eder dams. 29 of his 133 aircrew were RCAF. In Number 8 Pathfinder Group and all other Groups of Bomber Command "Canada" badges were conspicuous. S/L I.W. Bazalgette received a posthumous Victoria Cross for an heroic act of self-sacrifice while flying as a Master Bomber.
In Coastal Command, F/0 K.O. Moore sank two U-Boats in 22 minutes early in D-Plus Two. F/0 R.B. Gray received a posthumous George Cross for his gallant conduct after a German submarine shot down his aircraft.
Cessna Crane Schweitzer TG3A Privateer Spitfire Horsa
Waco CG 15A Mosquito Firefly Rambler Meteor
Hadrian Mentor Norseman Vampire Boeing B47
For more history and photos, please follow this link to 1945 to Today: